QUEEN’S PARK – Today during Question Period, Ontario PC MPPs highlighted how the Liberal Government continues to dither on extending and funding child protection services to youth aged 16 and over.
“In Ontario, Children’s Aid Societies are forced to turn away youth aged 16 and over, unless they are already receiving assistance,” stated Ontario PC Deputy Leader and Critic for Children & Youth Services, Sylvia Jones. “We are turning young people away when they are asking for help.”
In Canada, Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia, Quebec and New Brunswick all provide child protection services for youth aged 16 and over.
“Not only do other provinces believe it is right to provide care to youth over the age of 16, the Youth Leaving Care Working Group’s 2012 report called for the age of protection to be extended to the age of 18,” Jones continued. “Moreover, by ending support at 16, Ontario is actually in contravention of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
“When will the Minister of Children and Youth Services extend and fund child protection services to the age of 18?” Jones added.
PC MPP Jim McDonell (Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry) also highlighted that Bill 54, the Right to Care Act, is yet to be examined by the Standing Committee on Social Policy. Passage of Bill 54 would allow Children’s Aid Societies to assist 16 and 17 year olds who require their services for the first time.
“When Bill 54 came for Second Reading in the House, the Minister of Children and Youth Services stated that a review of the relevant legislation was ongoing,” McDonell stated in the Legislature. “The review is now complete and the report of recommendations is public. Youth who are denied CAS services today are at a higher risk of homelessness, poverty, poor school performance or dropping out, and being a victim of violent crime.”
McDonell concluded, “The solution to the recommendation of raising the age of protection enjoys all-party support and is before a Committee. Can Ontarians count on this Government to take the necessary steps to ensure that Bill 54 passes by next summer? Minister, it is the right thing to do.”