Ontario Connecting Youth Leaving Care with Supports to Succeed
Logan D Suza
The Ontario government is investing $68 million in a new program that connects youth in the child welfare system with additional services and supports they need to prepare for and succeed after leaving care. The Ready, Set, Go program, launching on April 1, 2023, will provide youth transitioning out of care with life skills and supports they need to pursue post secondary education, skilled trades training and employment opportunities.
“Children and youth in the child welfare system face additional barriers throughout their lives,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. “Our government is enhancing the way youth leaving care are supported so they can access the same opportunities as their peers. The Ready, Set, Go program will help youth get the skills they need to build a brighter future for themselves.”
Under the new program, children’s aid societies will begin focusing on helping children plan for the future at an earlier age. Starting at age 13, they will begin learning practical life skills and planning educational goals. At age 15, the emphasis will expand to financial literacy and preparing for the workforce, including managing personal finances, setting up a bank account, grocery shopping, resumé building, and how to access social services and other supports.
The Ready, Set, Go program will also allow youth to remain in care until the age of 23, up from age 21. Monthly financial support will also increase to provide youth better quality of life and safer housing opportunities so they can focus on their studies or working.
Funding is increasing from $850 per month to:
- Age 18 – $1,800
- Age 19 – $1,500
- Age 20 – $1,000
Youth who will remain in care at age 21 will now receive $1,000 per month. Youth in care at age 22 will receive $500 per month. Youth will also be able to work up to 40 hours per week at Ontario’s minimum wage without affecting their financial supports. Those pursuing a post-secondary program or training in skilled trades and apprenticeships, will receive an additional $500 per month starting at age 20.
The Ready, Set, Go program was developed with input and advice from former youth in care, child welfare advocates, partners and is informed by research. These changes are part of Ontario’s plan to transform the child welfare system and hold children’s aid societies accountable to better prepare youth leaving care.