Today marks Children and Youth in Care Day (CYICD) in Ontario. First proclaimed in 2012, CYICD is an opportunity for organizations and individuals across the Province to celebrate the positive impact current and former youth in care have had, and continue to have, on our communities.
Every day, at Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CAST), we witness the strength and bravery of children and youth as they navigate the challenges associated with being involved with child welfare. While each of these young people have their own unique stories, what they all share is an ability to face adversity with great resilience and perseverance.
Leveraging their own journeys, we’ve seen many former youth in care turn their lived experiences into opportunities to inspire change. As child welfare advocates, these individuals are dedicated to improving the outcomes and level of support for children and youth in care through mentorship, volunteering, government engagement and more. In honour of CYICD this year, we hosted an event for several of these leaders to share their inspiring stories of perseverance and success with young people involved with our Agency.
At CAST, we’re dedicated to working alongside youth transitioning out of care to help build their foundation of support as they enter into adulthood. Our focus is on establishing programs and partnerships that connect young people with resources and community networks that support them in achieving their educational, career and life goals.
In honour of CYICD, Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) has launched a new campaign, #ForgetMeNot, which raises awareness of the accomplishments and challenges of current and former children and youth in care to ensure that they are not forgotten. We encourage you to watch the campaign video here that includes a poem read by former youth in care, including our Board Member, 2nd Vice Chair - Board Equity Lead, Cheyanne Ratnam, and Troy, a former youth involved with CAST.
While today provides our communities with an opportunity to unite in honour of children and youth in care, each and every day we must recognize their contributions and support their successful futures.