The Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa offers a range of services to families in need of support. These services include:
Community Links: CASO collaborates with community partners and organizations to provide comprehensive and culturally informed services to children, youth and families. These supports aim to promote healthy family relationships, strengthen parenting skills, and enhance the safety and wellbeing of children and youth.
Youth Support: CASO offers Voluntary Youth Services Agreements (VYSAs) to youth aged 16-17 years old who need out-of-home placements due to a lack of safe living options. Additionally, we provide support and services to youth who are transitioning out of care and into adulthood, including assistance with education, housing, employment, life skills, and emotional support.
Foster Care and Kinship Care: Our goal is to keep families together in their own homes, however in situations when that is not possible, children and youth may be temporarily placed with a foster or kinship family. We turn first to kinship care, which involves placing a child or youth with a relative, extended family member, or a member of their community network. Alternatively, foster care involves placing a child or youth with a trained foster family who can help provide them with a safe environment to learn and grow.
Adoption: Adoption through CASO provides children and youth with permanency, security and lifelong support. We recognize the importance of considering race, ancestry, place of origin, cultural, and linguistic heritage in adoption placements and continue to recruit adoption parents who can support a child or youth’s identity. Additionally, we continue to support connections with a child or youth’s birth family throughout the adoption process.
Over the past 5 years, there has been a consistent decrease in the number of ongoing child protection cases managed by CASO. As of March 31, 2023, the percentage decrease from the previous fiscal year was 16.2%.
This decrease in ongoing case numbers can be attributed, in part, to CASO’s increased efforts towards preventative practices. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Signs of Safety Service Model
- Family Finding Service Model
- Relationship building with new and existing community partners
For children and youth who required out of home placement, in 2022/23 CASO’s use of kin service increased by 6.3 per cent from the previous fiscal year. CASO’s total number of children and youth in care has simultaneously decreased, showing our commitment to finding and using kin service as a least intrusive placement option when children and youth can’t safely remain in their homes.