CHILDREN’S AID FOUNDATION OF CANADA AND CHILDREN’S AID OF SOCIETY OF TORONTO’S JOURNEY TO ZERO PROGRAM
Journey to Zero Program, a new early intervention program aimed at strengthening families and keeping children and youth at home and in their communities.
Co-designed by Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada and Toronto CAS, Journey to Zero will provide customized supports and resources through a series of early interventions that will strengthen families and allow children and youth to stay at home and in their communities and prevent them from growing up in the care of the child welfare system.
The Journey to Zero Program consists of four independent interventions that will be implemented by Children’s Aid Society of Toronto:
- Family Partnership Meetings – Working in partnership with George Hull Centre, families will be paired with a dedicated coordinator and facilitator who will identify and recruit family members for a family partnership meeting. The group will address problems and build a shared response and plan to ensure the safety of the child within their home community or extended family.
- Intensive In-Home Supports for Adolescents – Working in partnership with Youth Link, families can access a youth outreach worker to develop individualized plans and identify wraparound services to keep youth safe at home with family/kin and allow them to live in their community.
- Multi-Disciplinary Early Engagement Teams – Aimed to provide a timely and customized response, families with children under the age of 6 and youth age 12 to 17 (the two largest age groups that come into care) will work with an intake worker who will access community resources specialists to help address some of the issues families are facing, such as mental health, addiction, sex-trafficking or domestic violence.
- Kin Intensive Support Services – A team comprised of a kin searcher, assessor and a service support worker will help find homes for children or youth with their kin or kith and create a family and community-based plan.
The four-year program is a partnership between Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada and their donors, including a leadership gift from the Balsam Foundation and support from The Rossy Foundation, The McConnell Foundation, The McLean Foundation and Louisa Huband and Craig Moffat; and the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto along with its Child Welfare Institute, who is leading the evaluation component of this innovative initiative. This program is supported by Ontario’s Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services who will be reviewing the outcomes to assess whether this kind of work should be replicated across the province.