TORONTO — The Ontario government 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.
“It is clear that children and youth who are placed in homes through adoption do significantly better than if they stay in group homes,” said Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues. “Investing in post-adoption supports and providing families with the help they need will mean more children and youth in care will find safe, loving and permanent homes.”
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. This 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:
- Pathways to Permanence 2, a specialized series of classes designed for adoptive caregivers who are parenting children who have experienced trauma and loss as part of their history.
- Parent2Parent program which 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. 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.
“Now more Ontario adoptive families will have the benefit of the specialized training that Pathways offers,” said Dianne Mathes, Adoption Council of Ontario Executive Director. “More Ontario children and youth on adoption and permanency journeys can experience stronger relationships with their families. This will help them heal from their trauma and loss, reducing the risk of family breakdowns and ensuring the stable, permanent home they need to thrive and flourish.”
“This announcement is timely as we mark Adoption Awareness Month,” said Minister Dunlop. “We sincerely thank the thousands of families across Ontario who have opened their hearts and homes to children in need of a family. Our government is committed to bringing more prospective parents, children and youth together through an improved adoption system.”