Extended age of protection can help reduce youth homelessness: Covenant House
Children and Youth Services Minister Michael Coteau makes an announcement regarding Ontario's Child, Youth and Family Services Act.
TORONTO, ON, December 8, 2016
– The Ontario government’s plan to raise the age of child protection
from 16 to 18 can help keep more kids from ending up on the street,
according to the country’s largest agency for homeless youth.
Minister of Children and Youth Services Michael Coteau
announced the plan along with other changes to provincial children and
youth services at the agency today.
“We welcome this important and long-awaited step towards
providing youth in this age group with critically needed help to prevent
them from falling through the cracks and becoming chronically
homeless,” said Covenant House Toronto Executive Director, Bruce Rivers.
The extension would apply to youth who had not been involved with child
Last year alone, the agency saw almost 300 kids aged 16 and 17.
Rivers explained that young people often endure abusive or neglectful
situations until they believe they are old enough to fend for
themselves. But until now, youth 16 and 17, not previously involved with
children’s aid, could not receive help, including financial support to
live on their own and stay in school or receive the guidance they need,
putting them at a serious disadvantage.
Rivers urged the government to ensure that service agencies,
like Covenant House, are ready to implement the change before they move
forward. “It is critical that front-line workers have the training to
support these young people, especially if they disclose incidents of
Covenant House has continued to advocate for the extended age
of protection and consulted with the provincial Ministry of Children and
Youth Services. As a member of Ontario’s Youth Leaving Care Working
Group in 2012-13, Rivers offered the agency’s expertise to help the
province identify and implement opportunities to strengthen resources
and supports for older youth in need of protection and those
transitioning out of the child welfare system.
Covenant House provides the widest range of services under one
roof to at-risk, homeless and trafficked youth. More than a place to
stay, the agency offers 24/7 crisis shelter and on and off-site
longer-term residential programs along with comprehensive services
including education, counselling, health care, employment assistance and
Contact: Rose Cino
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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