Area of Law: Children and the Law
Answer # 969
What is the Children's Aid Society?Region: Ontario Answer # 969
The Children’s Aid Societies are non-profit agencies, which have the capacity to advocate for children and families, and community services. There are approximately 46 Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario.
Each year in Ontario, Children’s Aid Societies provide investigation, assessment, protection and counselling services to more than 120,000 families with children. They also provide protection and care to more than 20,000 children in foster homes, group homes and other substitute care.
The various Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario together form the membership of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies, also known as the OACAS.
The OACAS is one of a number of Children’s Associations in Ontario that represent specialized children’s services in the province. It works closely with the other associations on issues and projects of common concern.
The Association is funded through membership fees, government grants and other revenue producing activities. A Children’s Aid Society as a corporation holds membership in the Association. The OACAS is governed by a board of directors elected at the annual meeting of the membership, who represent approximately 21 regions in Ontario. Candidates for the OACAS Board must have served at least one year on the Board or the staff of a member society.
The board of directors of the OACAS approved the following mission statement: “OACAS, in support of its members, is…the voice of child welfare in Ontario, dedicated to providing leadership for the achievement of excellence in the protection of children and in the promotion of their well-being within their families and communities.”
The OACAS has served its members, the community, the public and the government in a variety of ways since 1912. These services have included the following:
- Promotion of child welfare issues
- Member services
- Government liaison and policy
- Research & special projects
- Quality assistance in child welfare practices, and
Provincially, the OACAS works with the government on the development and response to:
- Contentious issues, and
- Review mechanisms
OACAS provides system support to its member societies to assist and enhance their role in the community. Some of the services offered to member Children’s Aid Societies are:
- Child Mortality Task Force
- Consultation Services
- French Language Services Support
- Information and Database Services
- Ontario Child Welfare Training Program
- Training and Support to Foster Parents, and
- Youth in Care Network Support
Promoting child welfare service issues is a critical role for the OACAS. Child welfare services in Ontario are based in the community and governed by voluntary boards of directors.
For more information on Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario, contact the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies, or visit their website at oacas.org.
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