More Supports For Kids In Care Of Children's Aid Societies



    McGuinty Government Expands Opportunity For Vulnerable Youth

    TORONTO, June 26 /CNW/ -

    NEWS

    Children and youth in care will now have more opportunities to build the
skills and confidence they will need when they leave care.
    The province is providing new funding that will help kids in the care of
children's aid societies participate in learning and recreational programs
that support their healthy development so they are able to achieve their full
potential. This new fund will provide supports that include tutoring, skills
building and recreational activities for children and youth in care based on
each child's individual plan of care.
    In addition, youth 15 to 17 will have savings of up to $3,300 at full
implementation that will be held in bank accounts they can access when they
leave care. They will be provided with money management training so they will
have the skills necessary to manage their savings responsibly.
    The new funding is equivalent to the maximum Ontario Child Benefit
payment for each child and youth, totalling approximately $11.5 million in
2008-2009, growing to $16.2 million in 2011-2012.
    Helping young people who are making the challenging transition out of
care is part of the McGuinty government's commitment to tackle poverty. The
government will continue working with its child protection partners, including
young people in care, to ensure that the appropriate support and opportunities
are in place.

    QUOTES

    "This initiative is another way the government is providing more
opportunities to vulnerable children and youth so they gain the education,
skills and confidence they need to reach their full potential," said Children
and Youth Services Minister (http://www.gov.on.ca/children/english/index.html)
Deb Matthews
(http://www.gov.on.ca/children/english/ministry/minister/index.html).
"Lessening the risk that kids in care may experience poverty later in life is
another important step in the government's poverty reduction strategy."

    "It's essential that we close the gap in student achievement in order for
our youth to have the best future possible," said Education Minister
(http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/index.html) Kathleen Wynne
(http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/general/biography/edu_minister.html). "We are
committed to looking at the needs of particular groups of children in order to
raise the bar of achievement for all of Ontario's students."

    "We know from talking to youth that financial support is really important
and youth worry about living in poverty. Helping set up bank accounts and
getting help with budgeting are things that youth need," said YouthCAN
(http://www.oacas.org/about/programs/youthcan/) provincial program
coordinators Amanda Rose and Adam Diamond. "The minister's announcement is a
step in the right direction as a good parent for youth in the care of
children's aid societies. We are glad that the minister has listened to our
voices and hope to have the chance to help make more opportunities for youth
in care."

    QUICK FACTS

    
    -   Research
(http://books.google.ca/books?id=Wcg3Y59huQcC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_s
ummary_r&cad=0#PPA203,M1)shows that youth formerly in the
        care of children's aid societies are:
        -  Up to three times more likely to be unemployed
        -  Up to three times more likely to drop out of high school.
    -   All children and youth in care will have individual plans in place
        that identify supports that will assist their healthy development.
    -   Ontario has other types of supports in place for youth leaving care,
        including the Ontario Access Grant
(http://osap.gov.on.ca/eng/not_secure/Plan_Grants_full_newapp_CW_12345.htm),
        counselling, preparation for
        independence programs and access to aftercare workers.
    -   Funding for this initiative is based on the maximum Ontario Child
        Benefit for every youth in care. This amounts to $850 over the next
        year, which includes the $250 down-payment from 2007. The amount will
        match the OCB in future years, growing to $1,100 per child by 2011.

    LEARN MORE

    Learn about Ontario's children's aid societies
(http://www.oacas.org/index.htm).

    Learn more about the Ontario Child Benefit
(http://www.gov.on.ca/children/english/programs/ocb/ocb.html).

    Find out more about what is happening in the fight against poverty in
Ontario at ontario.ca/growingstronger
(http://www.growingstronger.ca/en/index.html).

    Youthconnect.ca (http://www.youthconnect.ca/main/english/index.html) is a
one-stop source to useful information and government services for youth.

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For further information:

For further information: Laura Dougan, Minister's Office, (416)
212-3394; Anne Machowski-Smith, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, (416)
325-5156

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ONTARIO MINISTRY OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES

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