Ontario has earmarked $68 million for a new program that connects youth in the child welfare system with services and supports to better equip them after leaving care.
Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services introduced the program, called Ready, Set, Go, Wednesday afternoon.
According to Fullerton, under the program, set to go live on April 1st, children’s aid societies will focus on helping children plan for their future, learn practical life skills and plan educational goals at ages as early as 13.
At age 15, she says the emphasis will expand to financial literacy and preparing for the workforce, including managing personal finances, setting up a bank account, and more.
In addition, she says the new program will allow youth to stay in care until the age of 23, up from 21, and will increase monthly financial support from $850 per month to $1,800 for 18-year-olds, $1,500 for 19-year-olds and $1,000 for 20-year-olds.
As for youth still in care at age 21, Fullerton says they will now receive $1,000 per month and 22-year-olds will get $500 per month.
The new program also allows up to 40 hours of work per week for those able to work at Ontario’s minimum wage without affecting their financial support. In addition, those still in care who are pursuing a post-secondary program or training in skilled trades and apprenticeships will receive an additional $500 per month starting at age 20.