As Ontario enters Adoption Awareness Month, the province is launching new supports for adoptive families, including a grant program to help families cover the costs of postsecondary education for adopted children.
The new Living and Learning Grants will provide support to adoptive families with a child enrolled in a full-time postsecondary program, helping to remove financial barriers and give more youth the opportunity to pursue higher education.
In addition, 15 new adoption recruiters will start work across Ontario this November to help connect more Crown wards with adoptive families. The province is partnering with Wendy’s Wonderful Kids to support the new recruiters, who will work to build relationships with children and youth in care and develop recruitment plans specific to each child’s needs.
Ontario also offers additional supports to make life easier for families adopting Crown wards, including:
- Support to pay for drug and dental benefits
- Peer-to-peer supports through Adopt4Life, including mentorship and parent resources for adoptive families
- Specialized training through the Adoption Council of Ontario for parents who adopt through children’s aid societies.
The province is also supporting greater use of customary care, a culturally appropriate placement option for First Nations children and youth, by providing one-time financial assistance to support First Nations families to welcome First Nations children in need of protection into their homes.
- Crown wards are children and youth that are cared for by foster homes or group homes because they have been abused, neglected or because their family situation could have placed them at risk.
- The Living and Learning Grant provides $500 per month, to support youth in full-time postsecondary education.
- One-time funding of up to $5,000 is available for customary caregivers to provide a safe, secure and comfortable environment to children and youth, as well as to make home repairs or purchase furniture or other items needed to support the well-being of children.
- Ontario is investing $24 million this year in these enhanced adoption services.
- The new recruiters will be working with children’s aid societies across Ontario.
- There are about 5,800 Ontario children and youth who are growing up in foster and group care as Crown wards.
- About 1,000 Crown wards are adopted into permanent homes each year in Ontario.
- The government serves as the guardian of all Crown wards.
- There is no cost to adoptive parents to go through the public adoption process with a children’s aid society.