Ontario government issues moratorium on youth aging out of care during pandemic

Ontario premier-designate Doug Ford during his election victory June 7, 2018. Photo: Doug Ford Twitter


The Ontario government confirmed to APTN News it will not allow youth to age out of the child welfare system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news comes just a few hours after APTN directly asked Premier Doug Ford during a media conference Thursday if he would call a moratorium.

Ford wouldn’t commit.

That’s all changed.

“We have officially filed a regulation so that throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, no youth in care or former youth in care in Ontario will age out of the supports and services they are currently receiving through children’s aid societies,” said Hannah Anderson, spokesperson for Jill Dunlop, the associate minister of children and women’s issues.

“No young person should be worried about losing their support system in this situation. Our government has taken decisive action to keep this from happening.”

Anderson said the moratorium was being “communicated to CASs across the province.”

APTN has been asking the Ontario government since Monday if it was going to halt children 18-21 from aging out care.

It began by saying it was working to implement a solution, yet stopped short of saying it will seek a moratorium. On Tuesday it said a solution means access to supports and resources youth need, but, again, wouldn’t call for a halt of kids losing their supports.

Supports can range from monthly funding to housing. Advocates were concerned youth would end up on the streets if supports ended.

Here is some background information on what the regulation means based on what the province sent APTN:

– If you are currently in children’s aid society care, or in a customary care arrangement, and you are about to turn 18, you will continue to receive the same level of support you are receiving now throughout the outbreak.

– If you are currently receiving services through a voluntary youth services agreement, and you are about to turn 18, you will continue to receive the same level of support you are receiving now throughout the outbreak.

– If you are currently receiving support through the continued care and support for youth program, and you are about to turn 21, you will continue to receive the same level of support you are receiving now throughout the outbreak.

There are about 10,000 youth in care, on average, among 50 societies across the province. Nearly half are between the ages of 16-20.

Investigative Reporter

Kenneth Jackson is an investigative reporter in Ottawa, Ont. with more than two decades in the business. He got his start in community newspapers before joining the Ottawa Sun in 2007 where he worked the police beat. In 2011, Jackson joined APTN to break the Bruce Carson scandal. The former senior aide to Prime Minister Stephen Harper tried using his contacts in the federal government to sign water deals with First Nations. The RCMP would charge Carson with influence peddling based on APTN’s reporting. The case would make it all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, which upheld his conviction in 2018. In recent years, Jackson has focused, almost exclusively, on the child welfare system in Ontario. The work has earned multiple awards, including the 2020 Michener Award.