Leaving Child Welfare

When families are in crisis, children may be taken into the child welfare system for their protection from abuse or neglect. Kids who are orphaned or abandoned by their families may also be taken into care.

Often kids find loving homes with foster parents. But many may move through a series of foster or group homes, continue to be plagued by the trauma of their experiences, or have difficulty adjusting to a new family situation and feeling wanted.

In Ontario, young people are cared for by the child welfare system up to the age of 18, and then can choose to continue to receive support until the age of 21. But often kids, lacking in maturity and eager to leave a system they feel may not have adequately cared for them, do not choose the additional support.

A recent study conducted by the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth found that many youth leaving care are struggling to move successfully to independence. Many end up on the street. Covenant House is part of a government task force to look at improving the outcome for youth who were formerly in care.

The Ontario government has received recommendations to reform the child welfare system, including extending support for these youth up to the age of 25 to help increase their odds of success. The government’s own study found that the vast majority of Ontarians agree these youth should have more help to transition successfully to independence.[1]

[1] 25 is the New 21: The Costs and Benefits of Providing Extended Care and Maintenance to Ontario Youth in Care Until Age 25, Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, 2012.

Recent Media Releases

Covenant House Welcomes Help for Kids Leaving Care

January 24, 2013 - "The province’s commitment to extend financial and emotional support for youth leaving care could help reduce the high number of these young people who become homeless,” Bruce Rivers, Covenant House Executive Director said.
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Homeless Youth Shelter Supports Extended Benefits for Foster Youth

May 14, 2013 - More support for young people in foster care, particularly extending the age of eligibility from 21 to 25, is critical to reducing the alarming number of these youth who find themselves on the street, says Carol Howes, Covenant House Toronto program director.
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Success stories

A parent's sacrifice

Bina’s parents adored their sweet, bright-eyed daughter. When her life was threatened, they risked everything to save her.
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Facts & Stats

There are 10,000 homeless youth in Toronto each year

Homeless youth are forty times more likely to die than other youth

70% of homeless youth are fleeing homes with abuse and neglect

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