Right now, children and youth needing permanent families through adoption are older, come from a sibling group, have experienced trauma and may have complex medical needs.
The Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto works very hard to assist families in keeping their children with them when struggling. When this is not possible, extended family members or community members known to the family are sought. It is critical for children and youth to remain connected to their communities and culture and it is for this reason that adoption placements, particularly where the adopters are unknown to the child, is the last alternative.
Adoptive caregivers are selected based on the current needs of the children and youth in need of families. The goal is to find families for children and youth who share their unique racial, cultural, religious and identity needs and are able to support their developmental needs.
Equally important is ensuring the child or youth’s wishes are considered and that remains at the centre and forefront of adoption work.
We recognize the distinct rights of Indigenous communities to address children’s needs for lifelong access and connections to their communities and culture. There will be no consideration of placing Indigenous children in non-Indigenous adoptive families without consultation and agreement from the child’s Band or community.
The number of children being adopted has decreased steadily in the last eight years. This is because of the increased focus of CASs on keeping children living safely with their families.
In 2019–2020, 686 adoptions were completed through Ontario Children’s Aid Societies.
Despite the recent increases in permanency supports for children and youth in care, there remain thousands of children in care in Ontario with Extended Society Care status who are not available for adoption. Some children and youth are not emotionally prepared to engage in a process of seeking an adoptive family, with significant needs for healing from grief and loss experiences. Many of these youth will remain in their current foster families, with a focus on how to best support these families in committing to a lifelong and legally permanent relationship to these children through either adoption or legal custody.
Children’s Aid Societies do not charge fees for home studies, training, or adoption service. There are also subsidies available for families who meet the eligibility requirements.
It’s all about the match. The needs of the child come first, and a successful match takes places when a family is found that possess all the skills and characteristics that can provide for the child’s needs.
Every child/youth is unique. And because of this, every adoption will be unique.
It takes time. The process to find the right match, have a home study done, and complete the training can take time. The time it takes to go through the adoption process also varies depending on the needs and situation of the child/youth.
Adopting Through Your CAS
If you are NEW to considering adoption in Ontario, we invite you to first contact Centralized Adoption Intake through the Adoption Council of Ontario to get more information. Once you have done this and continue to feel that public adoption at CCAS is right for you please call 416-395-1520 to further explore the possibility and to complete the application process.
Applicants in Ontario must complete the following requirements in order to adopt:
- Complete a SAFE (Structured Analysis, Family Evaluation) home study.
- Complete PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education) pre-service training.
The SAFE home study
The homestudy is a comprehensive assessment which will include interviews, home visits, and the submission of supporting documents such as criminal reference checks, personal references, and financial/medical forms.
PRIDE pre-service training is a nine-module (27-hour) program used to prepare and educate families interested in adoption, kinship care, customary care, and fostering. The curriculum includes:
- Adoption and child welfare systems, processes, and laws
- Attachment and loss
- Child development and identified needs specific to adopted children
- Identity formation and the importance of cultural and racial awareness
- The importance of connections and continuity for children
The following are the minimum requirements to begin the application process:
- At least one applicant is Catholic and in agreement to raise the child or young person Catholic
- Single applicants accepted
- Applicants shall be over age 18 at the time of the application
- Applicants reside in Toronto. Consideration is given to applicants who reside outside of Toronto where it appears to be in the best interest of a specific child
- Must be open to adopting an older child or youth and accepting of a child or youth’s special needs
- Good general health
- Financially self-sufficient
- Consent of all immediate family members
- Demonstrated healthy individual and family histories
- No substance abuse; no condoning of illegal substances
- No criminal charges pending or significant criminal background
- No verified or suspected incidents of child abuse
- Adequate living and sleeping premises for a child
- Demonstrated ability to carry out essential duties of parenting
- Ability to ensure a child will have appropriate developmental environment
- Adequate communication skills
- Willingness to learn new skills
- Willingness to work with the agency and other professionals
- Sensitivity to cultural differences and backgrounds of children
Any previous CAS service involvement will be evaluated on an individual basis.There are many steps in the adoption process. Some move quickly, while other steps require more time and careful consideration.
You will first speak with an adoption worker to review the process and criteria.
- Adoptive parents are provided with as much information as we have in order to make a decision about adopting a specific child.
- We provide educational opportunities for prospective adoptive parents to learn more about children’s needs before, during and after placement. We provide post-adoption support and in some circumstances adoption subsidies.
- Adoptive parents are introduced to the young person in a gradual and planned way. This allows adoptive parents and the young person an opportunity to get to know each other. Adoptive parents work closely with the previous caregivers and adoption worker to ensure that the transition is a positive experience.
If you are NEW to considering adoption in Ontario, we invite you to first contact Centralized Adoption Intake through the Adoption Council of Ontario at www.adoption.on.ca/CI to get more information. Once you have done this and continue to feel that public adoption at CCAS is right for you please call 416-395-1520 to further explore the possibility and to complete the application process.
Adoption openness can include written, verbal or face-to-face contact or communication between a child and any person that is deemed to be an important connection to the child. Communication may be direct or indirect and may include either identifying or non-identifying information.
- If you meet the eligibility requirements listed, you can call 416-395-1520 to discuss the next steps. You will be asked to forward your completed home study, PRIDE training certificate and the supporting documents (references, medical report, etc.) to us to be reviewed.
- If accepted, an adoption worker will be assigned to meet with you to further discuss our requirements and the adoption process.
- The worker’s recommendation and your application will be reviewed. Should your application be approved, you will be registered with the CCAS as a potential adoptive family.
- The Adoption Worker continues to visit and provide support to the child and adoptive family until the adoption is finalized.
- After the adoption is finalized, the adoption worker is available for consultation, referral and support.
The Adoption Council of Ontario is a not-for-profit organization providing outreach, support, and education to all adoptees, adoptive parents, potential adoptive parents, birth families, and adoption professionals in Ontario.
A photo listing website that connects children from CASs in Ontario waiting for adoption with families in Ontario. Adopt Ontario is a program of the Adoption Council of Ontario.
The Adoption Resource Exchange conference is an MCCSS funded program that helps locate and match adoptive families with Ontario children needing adoption. These events are hosted a few times a year by the Adoption Council of Ontario.
Adopt4Life–Ontario’s Association for kin, customary care, and adoptive parents and caregivers, is a community of people with lived experience that strengthens and empowers parents and caregivers to achieve permanency for children so that they reach their full potential.
MCCSS provides oversight of CASs and CAS children and youth who are available to be adopted.