New four-year program aims to keep Toronto kids out of foster care

New four-year program aims to keep Toronto kids out of foster care

TORONTO — Child welfare organizations in Toronto have launched a new four-year program aimed at supporting at-risk families so children can stay home instead of going into foster care.

The Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada and the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto say the program will focus on early intervention in specific neighbourhoods of the city.

They say that approach is based on models that have been used successfully in the United States and Australia.

The groups say the goal is to improve outcomes for children, noting those in the child welfare system tend to do more poorly in academics, employment and health compared to their peers, and experience higher levels of homelessness, criminal activity and teen pregnancies.

The $7.3 million project is funded through donors and support from charitable foundations, and will be implemented by the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.

The Ontario government says it will review the results and assess whether this type of approach should be expanded across the province.

Valerie McMurtry, president and CEO of the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, said it’s a shift to allow for more positive and productive partnerships between families and child welfare agencies.

“We want to achieve better outcomes for at-risk families and lay the groundwork for permanent change in the child welfare sector,” she said in a statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 20, 2019.


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