It is important however that this not be confused with offering youth services until their 21st or 24th years. That is supported by us as long as it is optional for the youth. This is a different issue. This issue concerns CASs being able to apprehend youth or provide services against the wishes of the youth themselves between the ages of sixteen and 18.
Currently section 27 of the Child and Family Services Act already gives authority to CAS and to the courts to provide services to youth over sixteen if the youth want such services and enter into an agreement for such.
Section 27 reads as follows:
If you read it carefully it basically says that a CAS and a youth sixteen or older, if the youth wants it, can enter into an agreement for services (foster care or other services) if the youth wants it. It also says that even if the youth does not want the services, if the CAS convinces the court that the youth needs it, the court has the power to order those services.Consent to service: person over sixteen
If the OACAS and the CAS were to win changes to the legislation as they are asking government to do, it would take away the older youth's choice entirely making it mandatory that the sixteen and seventeen year olds go into care or receive forced services even if they don't want them. Basically throwing away the UN convention on the Rights of the Child to be heard and / or considered in the decision making process concerning their lives.
John Dunn of the Foster Care Council of Canada has sent an e-mail to the OACAS to ask for clarification on this issue.
According to the Home page of the OACAS, the OACAS and Ontario Children’s Aid Societies recommend raising the age of protection to 18 and they believe Children’s Aid should have the ability to intervene when older children are abused or neglected and be able to work with children and their families, and help them make connections in the community to access supports and services.
However, currently section 27 of the Child and Family Services Act already gives the Societies and the courts authority to provide services to youth over the age of sixteen as long as the youth wants to receive those services and gives consent. (See below)
Consent to service: person over sixteen
Can the OACAS please explain why they are lobbying the government to increase the age of protection to 18 when they already have the ability to do so under the current legislation if the youth consents to such services?
Foster Care Council of Canada
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