Children’s aid societies have been part of the landscape of social services in Ontario for over one hundred years. As independently governed organizations, their form and focus have evolved over the years in response to shifts in provincial policy for child welfare,fiscal environments, and local community circumstances.
In the same way that no two ofOntario’s hospitals or schools are exactly alike,the same is true for Ontario’s children’s aid societies. However, as a provincially funded program mandated under Ontario’s Child and Family Services Act, what level of commonality of scope and delivery of child welfare services should we as a province to strive for? Answering this question is confounded by many factors,the most significant of which is that child welfare is only one of several sectors that contribute to the welfare of children. Schools, children’s mental health programs, community agencies, hospitals and many other sectors all play a critical role in influencing the health,safety and well‐being of Ontario’s children and youth.