SOCIAL WORKERS

rawpixel-415593-unsplash

If you know a youth in care who could benefit from our services please complete our quick referral form and we will be in touch. Or, contact Lou at 1-814-514-0514 x105, Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm.

As Ontario's only first and only provider of specialized services for Lesbian, Gay, bisexual, Trans*, Queer, questioning, gender-fluid, or otherwise gender-independent youth in care, Five/Fourteen accepts referrals and placements from any Ontario Children’s Aid Society.

Five/Fourteen receives referral calls not only from Children’s Aid Societies but also directly from youth in care and through a special arrangement with the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth whereby youth in care who are afraid to come out to their foster parent or Children’s Aid Society worker can call the Advocate’s Office directly and have them liaise with Five/Fourteen and the relevant Children’s Aid Society on the youth’s behalf.

More than 20 % of youth in care self identify as LGBTQ2S; like black and indigenous youth, youth on the Rainbow Spectrum are dramatically over-represented in the child welfare system. The vast majority do not feel safe or supported enough in their current situations to come out. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services understands the exponentially higher likelihood of social isolation, depression, suicidality and other mental health concerns for LGBTQ2S youth and has agreed that these youth deserve increased services to support improved outcomes, and we’re proud to be a key component of the Ministry’s strategy to meet the requirements of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) to ensure LGBTQ2S youth in care across the province have equitable access to culturally appropriate services.

Through Five/Fourteen, LGBTQ2S youth in care gain access to tailored programming and are assured a growing connection to their cultural community, a right guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code. Recognizing these rights, the CYFSA require that any “order or determination in the best interests of a child” must do the same, and “the society having care of a child shall choose a residential placement for the child that respects the child’s sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.” MCYS has made clear that any LGBTQ2S youth in care is entitled to the enhanced supports and services available only through Five/Fourteen, and the rates they set for our programs are appropriate for providing the level of care our LGBTQ2S community’s youth require for health and success.

In our information package, you’ll read about our two programs. As stated by the Ministry in our rate letters, all youth who join our agency enter in Program 2 for at least the first six to twelve months. Program 2, at $241.66 per diem, is foundational, supporting youth as they come out, experiment and grow comfortable with their identity, undergo a thorough psycho-educational assessment, and receive appropriate and necessary health and mental health supports. Program 1, at $160.79 per diem, is for youth who are stable in their identity, require little mental health support, are well networked in the LGBTQ2S community/ies, and have been with Five/Fourteen for at least six months. All youth with Five/Fourteen have access to our social, cultural, and life skills programming across our province-wide network, and supported opportunities to build a personal network with safe, healthy inroads with LGBTQ2S communities.

Five/Fourteen is the foster agency of the LGBTQ2S community. We are first and foremost committed to providing positive and supportive environments for youth who are members of our cultural community. While we intend to expand our services over time to include as many LGBTQ2S youth in care as possible, we do not currently admit youth who are in need of intensive care or 24-hour supervision. We provide parent-model placements only, and we do not operate group homes or staffed residences. We cannot at this time support youth with violent behaviours or substance addictions, or who have required the use of physical restraint in the past year, or who have any other high level of need beyond what is described in our information package and MCYS outlined in our rate letters.

Five/Fourteen provides caregivers per diem rates of $50 to $70, depending on youth needs, and foster parent experience, skills, and location. Our foster parents are expected to cover room and board, regular daily travel, non-prescription medications, and very little else from this amount. Expenses and activities most OPRs require of the foster parents, we instead have built into our programming. Clothes shopping, for example, is most often done with our staff as part of our identity exploration programming; we encourage our youth to shop together, and to explore their newfound sexual orientation and gender identity freedom.

The majority of inclusions in our per-diem rate are included in the attached information package. Additionally, our agency covers many costs not generally covered in OPR rates, some of which form part of our identity-exploration programming, like clothing and hair styling. Our rates include:

  • counselling up to 4 times per month Program 2, twice monthly in Program 1,
  • allowance of $25 to $35 per week,
  • haircuts, colouring, styling, up to $500 per year,
  • clothing allowance enhancement of up to $1,920 per year,
  • birthday party enhancement of $280,
  • birthday gifts enhancement of $100,
  • Christmas/holiday enhancement of $150,
  • school supplies enhancement of up to $500,
  • extra-curricular enhancement of up to $400, and
  • social programming with staff, Five/Fourteen foster parents, and other LGBTQ2S youth with our agency and from the community.

We currently have available parent-model foster homes, in Windsor, London, Hamilton, Toronto, Stouffville, and we will have homes available this fall in Kingston, and soon in the Ottawa area. Five/Fourteen completes modified Homestudies, and we provide CASs with a two-page resource profile of homes for matching purposes. We’re also happy to provide Fast-Track and Child Welfare check authorizations prior to placement, at a Society’s request.

To find out whether we can provide a home for a youth in your care, fill out our referral form and we will be in touch. Or, contact Lou at 1-814-514-0514 x105, Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm, or anytime via email at lou@fostering.ca.