The Ontario government announced that it is investing $1.5 million annually in programs and services to make the adoption process easier, a key commitment of the province’s plan to redesign the child welfare system. The funding will help bring more prospective adoptive parents, children and youth together permanently through the development of a centralized intake service and expansion of online matching. It will also provide additional supports and training for families post-adoption, officials said.
As part of today’s investment, the province is providing $900,000 in new annualized funding to the Adoption Council of Ontario (ACO). This money will be used to develop a centralized adoption intake service and significantly expand centralized adoption matching. Currently prospective adoptive parents go to individual children’s aid societies, with varying response times and experiences. Centralized matching will make it easier for families and children and youth to find and be matched with each other. The government is hopeful it will lead to an increase in the number of adoptions of children in care.
An additional annual investment of $600,000 will enhance post-adoption training and provide individualized supports to families by expanding programs offered by the ACO and Adopt4Life, including the Pathways to Permanence 2 and Parent2Parent programs.
Pathways to Permanence 2 is a specialized series of classes designed for adoptive caregivers who are parenting children who have experienced trauma and loss as part of their history.
The Parent2Parent program provides individual support to parents and caregivers by facilitating support groups and ongoing buddy-mentor programs, as well as pairing them with a local parent to get help navigating supports and services in their community.
These investments address feedback received from consultations with the child welfare sector in the Fall of 2019, officials said. Prospective adoptive parents indicated there were barriers to adopting children and youth in care. Sector partners identified the importance of matching kids, where appropriate, with prospective adoptive parents of similar religion, race or cultural backgrounds. Other adoptive families expressed a lack of help for them post-adoption and that more supports were needed to keep adoptive families together.
Adopted children and youth are more likely to graduate from secondary school, be employed and have higher incomes than those who age out of Ontario’s child welfare system, the provincial government noted in a news release.