The Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) and its regulations outline the rights of children and young persons and what service providers must do to respect those rights. These rights empower children and young persons by giving them a voice. Children and young persons are given the right to express their views and participate when decisions are being made about matters that affect them and the services they are receiving under the CYFSA. Below are some brief highlights of these rights.
Children’s and Young Persons’ Rights (Part II)
Every child and young person who is receiving a service governed by the CYFSA has the right to:
- Express their own views freely and safely about matters that affect them
- Participate in honest and respectful discussions about how and why decisions affecting them are made and to have their views seriously considered based on their age and maturity
- Be consulted about the kind of services they are getting or will be getting, participate in decisions about those services and be told about the decisions that are made
- Raise concerns or suggest changes to the services they are getting or will be getting without interference or fear of pressure, discrimination or retaliation and to receive a response
- Be informed of their rights in a way they can understand.
For a child in care, the rights outlined above apply to decisions about their:
- Treatment, education or training or work programs
- Creed, community identity and cultural identity
- Placement in or discharge from a residential placement or transfer to another residential placement.
A child or young person’s views about these decisions must be considered in accordance with their age and maturity.
A child in care also has additional rights, such as:
- A right to reasonable privacy, to have their own personal property and to learn about and participate in activities of their choice related to their creed, community identity and cultural identity
- A right to a plan of care
- Rights to care, such as participating in developing their plan of care and making any changes to it, having access to food and clothing that is of good quality and receiving regular medical and dental care
- Communication rights.
The CYFSA sets out who must tell children and young persons about their rights under Part II, as well as when, what and how they must be told about their rights. There are also requirements about informing parents of their child’s rights under Part II of the CYFSA.
By law, all service providers must respect the rights of children and young persons as set out in the CYFSA. They must:
- · Help a child or young person exercise or benefit from their rights
- Make sure children, young persons and their parents are heard and represented
- Make sure decisions are made according to clear, consistent criteria and processes
- Make French language services available.
Privacy rights of children, parents and families (Part X)
Scheduled to come into force on January 1, 2020, Part X of the CYFSA provides children, parents and families with new rights related to the collection, use and sharing of their personal information.
Service providers must record the following information in the file of the child or young person:
- How they told a child or young person about their rights under Part II of the CYFSA
- How they helped the child or young person exercise or benefit from their rights under Part II of the CYFSA
- How a child or young person participated in decision-making
- How consent was obtained for the collection, use and disclosure of a child’s or young person’s personal information (scheduled to come into force on January 1, 2020).
Residential licensees also have requirements for what must be included in their written policies and procedures.
To learn all the specific requirements related to the rights of children and young persons, read the Child, Youth and Family Services Act and its regulations.
Child, Youth and Family Services Act: A Guide to Children’s and Young Persons’ Rights provides a general overview of what children and young persons are entitled to when receiving services and what service providers must do to make sure they are meeting their requirements regarding the rights of children and young persons.
Child, Youth and Family Services Act: A Guide to the Complaints Provisions provides a general overview of the complaints provisions in the Child, Youth and Family Services Act and its regulations. It explains the complaints requirements and processes for different types of service providers.
For more information about the CYFSA and what it means for you, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On January 1, 2020, Part X of the Child, Youth, and Family Services Act comes into force, creating a new access and privacy framework for Ontario’s child and family services sector. The Information and Privacy Commissioner will oversee these new rules for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information.
To raise awareness of access and privacy rights among, children, youth and families, the IPC has prepared a brochure, poster and quick reference card. In the coming months, we’ll continue to update our website with additional materials for youth and answers to frequently asked questions.
If you have not done so, check out our resources for service providers. These include a guide to Part X, a guide to tracking and submitting annual statistics to the IPC and reporting privacy breaches to the IPC. Your first annual statistics report is due to the IPC on March 2021, so it is essential that you begin your tracking program as soon as Part X takes effect in January 2020.
Attention: Moosonee, Moose Factory, Fort Albany, Kashechewan, Attawapiskat and Peawanuck members. If you currently have or had previous involvement with any Child Welfare Services, please take 10 to 20 minutes to fill out the Child Welfare Engagement Survey. This survey is completely anonymous and confidential. The information you provide in your responses will help make transformational changes to the Ontario Child Welfare system. This will give every child, youth and family the supports they need to succeed and thrive. This survey will remain open until Monday September 30, 2019. Have your voice heard!
Please click the link for access to the survey.