Making Ontario safer for kids and teens

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Increase in age of protection is just one step in extending services to more young people, says Rocco Gizzarelli

When does a child become an adult? As anyone who has experience with teenagers will know, 16- and 17-year-olds are in transition, often exhibiting maturity and independence, but not yet ready for the demands and expectations of adulthood.

On Jan. 1 the prove made Ontario a safer place for these teens by increasing the age of protection from 16 to 18. Young people aged 16 or 17 who are experiencing, or are at risk of experiencing abuse or neglect are now eligible to receive the full range of protection services that have always been available to children from the ages of birth to age15.

We use different protection approaches depending on the situation of each child and youth we serve. In the vast majority of cases we work intensively with the family to build its capacity to keep the child safe. In 2016/17, 98 per cent of the children we served remained in their family homes. Occasionally, we have to remove children from their families and seek other solutions to keep them safe. For 16- and 17-year-olds, these solutions could include living with other family members, living independently with needed supports, or as a last resort, entering into foster care.

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Article and Image Source: Hamilton Spectator

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