OACAS applauds funding initiative for youth education



    Government grants Crown wards tuition subsidy

    Ten CASs to test pilot new initiative to improve educational outcomes for
    youth in care

    TORONTO, Aug. 2 /CNW/ - The Ontario Association of Children's Aid
Societies (OACAS) applauds the Government of Ontario's funding announcement to
give youth in the care of societies better opportunities to pursue
post-secondary education and training.
    "Youth have been clear about their needs while studying at college or
university. This announcement clearly shows all of us - especially the youth -
that government is listening to them. It shows that their opinions and
knowledge matter - and that their advice is respected," said Board President
Dennis Nolan.
    The Ontario Government has announced that starting in fall 2008, current
and former Crown wards already eligible for Access Grants will also receive
additional grants in their third and fourth years of study covering half their
tuition costs up to a maximum of $3,000 each year.
    Under the McGuinty government's Reaching Higher Plan, current and former
Crown wards are already eligible for Access Grants covering all their
first-year tuition and up to $3,000 for their second year of study.
    Current and former Crown wards in programs less than two years will also
be newly eligible for tuition grants of up to $3,000. The McGuinty government
will also cover the college and university application fees for Crown wards
starting in 2008.
    Ontario's youth in the care of Children's Aid Societies have been
advocating over the past year for education supports. At the annual YouthCAN
Conference in June, "Setting up for Success", youth representatives asked the
Government to provide better educational supports such as grants for half of
tuition and application fee subsidies.
    The Ontario Government also announced a new initiative aimed at
increasing enrollment in post-secondary education and training and improving
the educational success of youth in care.
    "This new initiative can open doors for our children and youth, let them
hope and dream that they can be successful," said Nolan. "This announcement
recognizes the importance of being a 'good parent' in helping children and
youth to succeed."
    OACAS has supported the development of an initiative by three Ministries
to create an effective program to support Crown wards so they can succeed
through high school to post-secondary education and training. Ten Children's
Aid Societies are participating in a pilot of the Crown Ward Education
Championship Teams Initiative to develop better strategies to encourage youth
in care to continue their secondary and post-secondary education.
    "Youth have reminded us how difficult it is for them to make it through
college or university on their own and with no family to help. They asked us
to help them achieve their potential, to set them up for success, not just
survival," said Executive Director Jeanette Lewis. "We are very excited about
the opportunities these new initiatives and funding grants present to help
youth complete high school, make a smooth transition to post-secondary and
succeed in their studies and training."
    The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, in partnership with
the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services,
developed the Crown Ward Education Championship Teams Initiative.
    Ontario's Children's Aid Societies will be collaborating with school
boards and post-secondary institutions in the communities of Toronto, London,
Ottawa and Thunder Bay to develop the initiative for the 2007-2008 academic
year. The pilot project is intended to enhance educational outcomes for Crown
wards and increase their enrollment in post-secondary institutions.

    About the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies

    OACAS is a membership organization representing Children's Aid Societies
in Ontario. The Association has served its members, the community, the public
and the government in a variety of ways since 1912. These services have
included the promotion of child welfare issues, government relations,
advocacy, policy development, communications, research and special projects,
members' support, quality assurance in child welfare practice and training for
all protection workers throughout the province.





For further information:

For further information: Marie-Lauren Gregoire, Communications
Coordinator, Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, (416) 987-9685,
www.oacas.org

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Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies

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