QUEEN’S PARK – The Official Opposition NDP is calling on Doug Ford to take immediate action to protect Ontario’s most vulnerable children and youth, following an APTN report that revealed that the Ford government quietly loosened safety rules that protect kids in care, and put them in harm’s way during this pandemic.
Monique Taylor, NDP critic for Children and Youth Services, and Sol Mamakwa, Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation critic, say it’s wrong to have more kids in each home, end criminal record checks for people caring for the children, and stop home visits meant to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children in care.
“During this pandemic when children and youth in care need more protection than ever before, the Ford government has made it more dangerous for them by loosening the rules meant to keep them safe,” said Taylor. “It's the responsibility of the government to ensure that inspections of care settings can be done safely, rather than cutting regulations meant to keep children out of harm’s way. Further, increasing the number of children in each foster home, while simultaneously reducing oversight, only makes these children more vulnerable.
“Instead of informing everyone involved of changes to the rules to protect children and youth in care, the Ford government is keeping changes to the law quiet.”
Ford’s changes are supposedly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but among them are only loosening of regulations, and no protections for the kids from COVID-19 itself. Ten children in care have already contracted the virus.
“Children and youth in care are among our most vulnerable people and they deserve more protections during this time,” said Mamakwa. “Indigenous and Black children are disproportionately represented in the child welfare system and the government should be moving towards more accountability and transparency in care, not less.
“Ford must act now to prevent any more children from contracting COVID-19, and provide the protection children and youth in care, need.”
Many of the changes were made in Regulation 208/20, found here: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/r20208?search=foster