Each November, Children’s Aid Societies across Ontario recognize Adoption Awareness Month to highlight the importance of life-long relationships for children and youth in care.
The Adoption Council of Ontario’s theme this year is “Answering the call.” Those who step up to care for children have answered the call, and it is our duty as a Government to do the same.
That is why we have committed to re-examining the adoption system to protect children’s interests and make adoption easier for families and children.
As the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister for Children, Community, and Social Services I have been tasked with hosting a number of round-tables around the province to help modernize the adoption system to make sure it functions as well as possible. Several MPPs have hosted round-tables to hear directly from families, caregivers, Indigenous partners, frontline workers, and child welfare sector leaders. They have been emotional discussions around the challenges, and successes, those who answer the call to care for vulnerable children experience.
We know that children and youth are not being matched with families as often as they should. For example, in 2018-19 there were 4,622 children and youth in the permanent care of children’s aid societies in Ontario who were eligible for adoption. Only around 800 were adopted.
It has been said that it takes a village to care for a child. Here in Ontario, we are supported by groups such as the parent support network Adopt4Life and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Both groups make our communities a better place thanks to the hard work they do.
Whether it is adoptive or kinship care, creating permanency for children and youth in Ontario is a goal that we can all support.
So My question this week is this: Have you had an experience with Ontario’s adoption system and, if so, how can we improve it?
Jeremy A. Roberts, MPP