December 4th was an exciting day for youth in and from care, OACAS/YouthCAN, and especially youth 16-17 who need the help and support of a CAS. Queen’s Park was the site of public hearings about Bill 88, a proposal which – if it became law- would allow 16 and 17 year olds who experience abuse or neglect to ask for help from CASs. The committee of MPPs heard many impassioned and supportive speeches in support of the bill passing. Currently, Ontario’s age of protection is up to 16years, and if passed Bill 88 would allow these youth to make voluntary agreements with a CAS. This is the first time ever that protection services for 16 and 17 year olds has been discussed, and we hope with future work it will result in the bill becoming law. The reason why this bill is so important is because of the things these youth have told us over the years:
*I really want to stay in school but I’m fighting to survive
*I don’t want to go to welfare – they’ll make me go back home
*I’m afraid of the homeless shelter – it’s scary and my stuff gets stolen
*I wish help was there when I need it
* I can’t stay at home, its not safe – I wish I had somewhere to go
CAS staff work hard every day to help support families and to keep children safe. Often CAS workers encounter youth who have turned 16 and are coming to the agency for the first time for help. Sadly under the current system CASs cannot legally offer service to youth who are 16 and over. These young people are forced to seek help through the adult system, including Ontario Works, ODSP and other community service agencies and services. Sometimes 16 and 17 year olds needing protection having siblings younger than 16 who are also in need of help, can receive it from a CAS.
YouthCAN /OACAS supports Bill 88, and especially the intent behind it. We agree that 16 and 17 year olds should be able to access protective services and enter into agreements with children’s aid societies. We are excited to see how in the future we can support and care for this vulnerable group of young people.
New Changes to Tuition Rules
Ontario government is making post-secondary education more accessible – introducing changes to tuition rules.
On December 4th, the government announced new tuition rules for colleges and universities. Beginning in the 2014-15 academic year the following will apply:
* Tuition fees for fall term will not be due before the beginning of August, restricting institutions from requiring tuition payments in June or July.
* Students who complete their Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) applications by the beginning of August will not have to pay their tution before receiving their financial aid.
* All students will be able to pay tuition per-term instalments without paying deferal fees or interest charges.
* Colleges and universities may continue to charge a deposit on tuition, but the amount will be capped at $500 or 10 per cent of the tuition toal whichever is greater. Institutions must use the deposits to cover the student’s tuition fees.
In 2015, students taking less than a 70% course load will pay on a per-credit basis rather than full tuition. In 2016, students taking less than 80% will be able to do this.
Resources Supporting Youth in Tansition (RSYT)
*Lost your wallet? *Need I.D? * Need some help to write a resume? *Looking for affordable housing listings? *Don’t know how to cook? *Looking for local community centres? *How do I apply for Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)? *What scholarships are available for me?
All your answers can be found at Ontario YouthCAN’s Resources Supporting Youth In Transition! YouthCAN has created a toolkit of resources for youth in care to better prepare themselves for the future! These resources are excellent for youth or staff. Some resources include Connections, Life Skills, Financial, Health, Accessibility, Housing, Employment, Education and One-Stop. Visit: http://ontarioyouthcan.org/rsyt/
Shed the Light
is a youth led group raising awareness and reducing stigma about mental health.
LGBT Group a social and support group meets weekly at DCAFS. For info call 519-941-1530 x 418.
COME TO OUR TALK-IN CLINIC This is our main door to service.
WHAT IS THE TALK-IN CLINIC?
- a quick access to trained counselors
- immediate problem solving
- information and support
- therapeutic conversations
- connections to other DCAFS services and community services
JUST WALK IN….If you prefer you can call ahead to “Intake” at the number listed below to provide some basic information. You will be asked to fill out some forms when you arrive, however, for your convenience we have copies of the forms available for download so you can fill them out in the comfort of your home at your own pace. Then just bring them with you to the “Talk-In” and give them to reception when you arrive.
For your convenience you may download the following forms, fill them out and bring them with you or just wait and our Receptionist will give them to you when you arrive.
Any Tuesday between 1:00pm -8:00pm (last appointment at 7:00pm) Summer hours (July to August) 3:00pm-7:00pm (last appointment at 6:00pm)
CMHO website www.kidsmentalhealth.ca
The New Mentality www.thenewmentality.ca