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Ontario pledges $24M for adoptive families, including an education grant

Ontario is promising $ 24 million in increased supports for adoptive families, including a new grant program to help cover the costs of college or university for adopted children.

The government says the “living and learning grants” will give more adopted youth the chance to pursue higher education by providing $ 500 a month if they are a full-time post-secondary student.

There is also one-time financial assistance of up to $ 5,000 for First Nations families that adopt an indigenous child who is in need of protection under what is known as a customary care placement.

Other financial help for families adopting Crown wards includes drug and dental benefits, mentorship and parent resources, and specialized training for parents who adopt through children’s aid societies.

The government says 15 new recruiters will be hired to connect more of the 5,800 Crown wards in Ontario with adoptive families, and to develop plans specific to each child’s needs.

Most Crown wards live in foster or group homes because they’ve been abused or neglected, or because their family situation could have placed them at risk.

About 1,000 are adopted into permanent homes in Ontario each year.

“Expanding support to include Ontario’s adopted Crown wards and youth leaving care as they pursue their education and move into adulthood is essential,” said Deb Matthews, minister of advanced education. “That leg up will help them to take advantage of the benefits a post-secondary education offers, now and in the future.”