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Report: Half the Time I Felt Nobody Loved Me

Rampersaud, M., & Mussell, L. (2021). “Half the time I felt like nobody loved me”: The Costs of ‘Aging Out’ of State Guardianship in Ontario. [Public Policy Report]. Toronto, ON.

Executive Summary: In 2020, there were 2,762,885 children and youth, ages 0 to 17, in Ontario (Varrella, 2021). Approximately 11,700 (0.4%) of these children and youth are under state guardianship (MCCSS, 2021). Data available from 2011 shows a quarter of all Canadian children and youth in care live in Ontario (Statistics Canada, 2011).1 Almost half of these young people are in extended society care (formerly known as Crown Wards in Ontario), meaning they have been permanently removed from their homes and families. For these youth, the province has assumed formal responsibility as their “parent” (Kovarikova, 2017). This report draws on interview data with 25 young people who have ‘aged out’ of state guardianship and 10 Youth-in-Transition Workers. The interviews are synthesized with available data and research to identify the strengths and challenges young people face after leaving care and analyze the costs to society when youth experience adverse outcomes after ‘aging out.’ This report highlights the systemic failures that underscore the adverse outcomes common among youth leaving state guardianship. Specifically, this report:

  1. Summarizes what is known about youth 'aging out' of state guardianship in Ontario

  2. Estimates the tangible and intangible costs of current outcomes, and

  3. Recommends policy options to improve outcomes for youth in society.

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