25 is the New 21: The Costs and Benefits of Providing Extended Care & Maintenance to Ontario Youth in Care Until Age 25

Seven cost-benefit analyses have been undertaken in the United States and Australia to examine the costs to society of providing extra supports to youth in care after the age of 18. The studies reveal vastly different approaches, assumptions, and data sources. Yet all reach the same conclusion: increased investment in services for youth transitioning from care yield benefits in the long term. This is the first such study to be done in Canada. The analysis is based on the best and most promising aspects of the seven cost-benefit analyses mentioned above. The report examines available Ontario data, as well as Canadian and international sources, to estimate the cost of a program extension in Ontario. It also estimates the savings that could be achieved by bettering the lives of youth aging out of care. “Extended Care and Maintenance” (ECM) is currently provided until age 21. If ECM and other supports are extended for four additional years, fewer youth will likely become involved with the criminal justice system. Fewer youth will likely access social assistance. More youth will likely finish high school and post-secondary education, thereby increasing their earnings and the taxes they will pay. For every $1.00 the province of Ontario spends supporting its youth by extending ECM and supports to age 25, Ontario and Canada will save or earn an estimated $1.36 over the working lifetime of that person.

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