The children and youth who come into contact with the child protection system are some of the most vulnerable in Ontario. Many have experienced trauma or are struggling with mental health challenges. They deserve every resource and opportunity to thrive. But tonight, and every night, far too many are going to sleep not in licensed homes equipped to support them but in hotels, motels, Air bnbs and, in the most extreme examples, Children’s Aid Society offices.

These children and young people deserve better. Send a message to the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services and your MPP. Tell them to stop placing children and youth in unlicensed homes.

20 out of 27 CAS agencies represented by CUPE have placed a child or a youth in an unlicensed home in the last year. That’s dozens or hundreds of children as young as 2 spending their nights in motels where they their basic needs and rights, including a hot meal, clean clothes, privacy, and stability in school, aren’t being met.

While these children languish, this reliance on short term solutions is costing agencies hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time when budgets – and workers – are already stretched thin. It costs agencies as much as $60,000 a month to cover hotel, food, and staffing for a single child.

Agencies can’t afford this burden. And we can’t afford to let these children down. They are surviving, not thriving. And they deserve better. They deserve high quality treatment facilities with well-trained staff.

The Ford government needs to pass legislation that prohibits the use of unlicensed homes. They need to expedite the licensing process for foster homes and bring more upstream treatment facilities online. And they need to reinstate the Child Advocate position.

Email Subject

Stop placing children and youth in hotels and motels


I am writing as a concerned community member watching our province woefully fail to take care of the most vulnerable children and youth in Ontario.

Every night that a child or youth spends in an unlicensed home, we are letting them down. Hotels, motels, short-term rentals, and Children’s Aid Society offices are no place to ensure the health and safety of young people.

We owe these children more. The Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services owes these children more.

MCCSS spokespeople have said in the past that it is up to individual CAS agencies where children and youth are placed. I understand that. But there is a lot you and the Ministry can do to end individual agencies reliance on unlicensed homes.

First, enact legislation banning the practice.

Second, expedite the licensing process for foster homes and invest in more treatment facilities.

Third, end the privatization of care.

Fourth, reinstate the position of Child Advocate.

Fifth, rely on the expertise of workers and consult with service providers and frontline workers in how you redesign the funding model.

Taking these steps would be a strong indicator to the people of Ontario that this government and the Ministry understands the urgency of this crisis.

Thank you,

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