The Aftercare Benefits Initiative (ABI) offers free health coverage, including dental, vision, prescription drugs, extended health care, and counselling supports to eligible youth between 21 and 25 years of age, without requiring them to pay for services out of pocket.

Participation in ABI continues to grow, with new youth being added each week and usage increasing each quarter. Today 1,115 youth are enrolled in the program, along with 224 dependent children. An additional 106 youth receiving Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program (and therefore ineligible for the health and dental benefits) are registered for the counselling and life skills support services.

As a reminder, there are two key steps youth must follow to enroll in ABI:

1.       Complete the application form. We recently simplified the online form to make it easier to fill out. 

2.       Obtain a verification from their former worker or CAS. This should be emailed by their worker or a staff from the CAS to and must contain the youth’s name, date of birth, and their former status.

 If you’re assisting youth with the application process, please keep these tips in mind:

  • Ensure their eligibility: Youth receiving health benefit coverage through another provider are ineligible (e.g. school, employment, or spouse). Youth receiving Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program are only eligible for the counselling and life skills support services offered through Shepell. They are not entitled to the health and dental benefits of ABI. These youth should follow the application process as outlined above and we will be in touch directly to clarify the coverage available to them
  •  Enter information accurately: It’s important to ensure all spelling is correct, their date of birth is entered properly, and their address is up-to-date (and includes their apartment number, where applicable).
  • Understand payment methods: Youth are not able to pay for services and submit claims for reimbursement. They must find health providers who are willing to bill Green Shield Canada directly on their behalf. Providers can register online at or by phone at 1-888-711-1119.

 In that regard, any outreach you can do with providers in your communities – especially with chiropractors, massage therapists, and other extended healthcare providers – to encourage them to join Provider Connect is greatly appreciated. This is of particular relevance for youth in the North and smaller communities, who are having difficulty finding providers who will bill Green Shield Canada on their behalf.

 Additionally, as an ABI Champion you are expected to:

  •  ·         Be a program resource for local CAS agencies
  • ·         Educate agency staff about the program and help them through the enrollment process
  • ·         Verify the status of former Crown Wards
  • ·         Conduct outreach with external partners to identify eligible youth

If your role at your agency has changed and you would like to provide an alternate contact for future ABI Champion updates, please let us know.

 Our new set of FAQs is intended to further clarify some of the most common questions we get about the program. Check them out and let us know if we’re missing anything.

 If you need additional promotional materials, including posters, postcards, and brochures to distribute to your local offices or to your community partners, please let us know by email at any time how many you need and where we should ship them.

 Thank you for your continued help in connecting eligible youth to this one-of-a-kind program. Let us know what else we can do to support you to be an effective ABI Champion and advocate.


Brynn Clarke, Member Programs Specialist

 Aftercare Benefits Initiative (ABI)
Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies

416-987-2133 | 1-800-718-1797 x 2133 |

 Have a question? Check out our list of FAQs.