58% of youth experiencing homelessness were previously involved with child protection services. (ii)
56% of youth from foster care drop out of high school, compared to 15% for the general population. (ii)
70% of youth who are homeless have experienced some form of abuse. (iii)
About 57% of youth coming from child welfare are unemployed and those who are employed are living below the poverty line. (iv)
50% of adolescents coming from juvenile justice systems will be homeless within six months because they lack life skills, have limited education and no social support.

(i) Nichols, N., Schwan, K., Gaetz, S., Redman, M., French, D., Kidd, S., O’Grady, B. (2017). Child Welfare and Youth Homelessness in Canada: A Proposal for Action. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press
(iii) Raising the Roof: Youth Homeless in Canada: The Road to Solutions, 2009, Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies, 2011
(iv) http://www.covenanthousetoronto.ca/homeless-youth/facts-and-stats
(v) http://provincialadvocate.on.ca/documents/en/25istheNew21.pdf

The Cost of “Aging Out” of Foster Care in Ontario

This 2021 Report from Marsha Rampersaud and Linda Mussell summarizes what is known about youth ‘aging out’ of state guardianship in Ontario and estimates the tangible and intangible costs of current outcomes when youth do not have the support they need. The report goes on to recommend policy options to improve outcomes for not just the youth, but society as a whole.

Read the Report

The Unseen Costs of Foster Care

This 2019 report from Alia Innovations “identifies huge social and economic costs associated with a child entering and being maintained in the foster care system.” “The report is a call to arms to fundamentally reinvent the system”

Read the Report

Key Stats

  • Based on the combined total of lost earnings of youth leaving state guardianship over their lifetimes, the province stands to lose approximately $118 to $315.8 million in revenue.
  • The lifetime cost to the province to support youth leaving state guardianship who rely on income supports like Ontario Works is $235 million.
  • Over their lifetime, youth leaving state guardianship who experience homelessness may cost the province approximately $629.8 million for emergency shelter.
  • Youth who leave state guardianship and experience incarceration stand to cost the province approximately $19.6 to $36 million annually; over their lifetime, the province may incur nearly $1 billion in incarceration costs.
  • More Key Stats

The Cycle of Dependence

Youth who leave the care system lack supportive role models, lack guidance and exposure to other ways of life. Furthermore, those who need support are often the youth who do not access services because of distrust and previous negative experiences with the system. A cycle of dependence on the system is created.