OACAS is a membership organization representing Children's Aid Societies in Ontario. The Association has served its members, the community, the public and the government in a variety of ways since 1912. These services have included the promotion of child welfare issues, government relations, advocacy, policy development, communications, research and special projects, members' support, quality assurance in child welfare practice and training for all protection workers throughout the province.
The Association is funded through membership fees, government grants and other revenue producing activities. OACAS provides system support to its member societies to assist and enhance their role in the community. Some of the services offered to member societies are accreditation, consultation services, French language services support, information and database services, the Ontario Child Protection Training Program, training and support to foster parents as well as our Ontario Youth Communication and Advocacy Network (YouthCAN).
Promoting child welfare service issues is a critical role for OACAS. We are in a unique position in Canada because child welfare services in Ontario are based in the community and governed by voluntary boards of directors. State-run child welfare delivery systems cannot advocate for best practices and other critical issues because the political and service arms are one and the same. Children's aid societies in Ontario are non-profit transfer payment agencies that have a unique capacity to advocate for children and families, community services and best practices in service delivery. Advocacy is essential both at the provincial and local level. OACAS is one of five children's associations in Ontario that represent the specialized children's services in the province. We maintain close links with these associations and work collaboratively on issues and projects of common concern.
Provincially, OACAS works with government on the development and response to legislation, standards, policy, regulations, contentious issues and review mechanisms. OACAS represents member societies' interests in public forums which may affect our members and clients. OACAS proactively makes presentations to the legislature on a non-partisan basis through standing committees/house debates and meetings with party caucuses. – less–ZoomInfo