CASO's Annual Report, 2020-2021

Our response to COVID-19’s unexpected outbreak illustrated how quickly we can mobilize to help each other navigate a major crisis together. In a world struggling to figure out how to respond, our values, mission and vision guided us, and enabled our staff to focus on immediate needs and support the most vulnerable in our communities.

- Kelly Raymond, Executive Director

 

A Year of Innovation and Adaptation

Throughout this past year, we’ve navigated the challenges of COVID-19 while pursuing our commitment to achieving service excellence and equitable outcomes for the children, youth, and families in our communities. It is through the dedicated efforts of staff and community partners that we have been able to maintain the momentum of our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, while coping with the demands of the pandemic.

This annual report showcases the many promising innovations we’ve implemented to better serve Ottawa’s families during these challenging times and beyond.

Read our 2020-2021 Annual Report

                                                                                                            Annual Report

 

Highlights

Excellence and Innovation. We developed the Pod Model for Learning Support Program during the pandemic to address the impacts of remote learning on students. The program has been key to the wellbeing and academic success of more than 140 youth in care. High school credit completion rates increased by 12% among students considered to be most in need of support. Read the press release.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. We implemented a pilot program for a new case consultation process for Black families receiving protection services. This new model recognizes families’ culture and identity as crucial elements to the success of service collaborations. Since the implementation of this pilot, no Black children or youth have been admitted to care in the units involved in this pilot.

Reconciliation. This year, CASO funded a position at Minwaashin Lodge devoted to working with First Nation, Inuit and Métis families receiving services from both CASO and Minwaashin, to provide culturally appropriate supports. Since February 2021, 22 families have taken advantage of this new resource and have reported that working with a Minwaashin staff member has been a more comfortable experience than working with a non-Indigenous CASO worker.

Partnerships and Collaboration. In 2021, CASO engaged with Muslim Family Services of Ottawa (MFSO) and Ottawa Muslim Community Service (OMCS) to support the Muslim families we serve through culturally and spiritually affirming activities. For example, we assisted in collecting and distributing food hampers to Muslim families to support them in their celebration of Eid al Fitr and Eid al Adha.

 

2020-2021 in Numbers

  • Children and youth in care: The average number of children and youth in care decreased by 5% over the past year and by 20.6% over the past five years.
  • Group care usage: Group care usage decreased from 12% to 11% over the past year.
  • Continued Care and Support for Youth: Service to youth with Continued Care and Support for Youth (CCSY) status increased by 3% over the previous year.
    • The most significant reason for this increase is the decision by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services to place a moratorium on youth aging out of care during the COVID-19 pandemic. This extended transition period ensures that youth in care continue to receive consistent supports and services during these especially challenging times.
  • Kin services: As of March 2021, the number of kin service placements has increased by 7% compared to the previous year.
    • When out-of-home placements are required, kin service is preferred to in-care arrangements such as foster care or group care whenever possible. Kin service places children and youth in the care of someone in their existing social network and offers a sense of security and belonging, while maintaining stronger connections with their families, culture and communities.