Tikinagan releases new book to support kids in care

Former youth in care Tyleen Strang says Tikinagan’s new book will help children and youth in care understand that there are caring adults who will support their connections to culture, community, and family.

Released digitally as part of Children and Youth in Care Day in May, the 24-page resource, How We Stay Safe: Coming into care with Tikinagan Child & Family Services, will help young readers gain an understanding of the changes that may occur while transitioning into care and recognize safe and unsafe behaviours.

“(Living with foster parents) really impacted me as a kid because I couldn’t make a connection with anyone,” reflected Strang, now 19. “I was scared to make connections with anyone because I thought I would leave the next day, and get moved to a new place.

“I wish I had resources like this when I was in care, so I could understand this experience doesn’t have to be scary. Tikinagan workers and foster parents want the best for our children and youth. Changes can be hard, and it’s okay to feel angry or sad.”

Children and Youth in Care Day, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary on May 14 across Ontario, is an opportunity to acknowledge children and youth in and from care for their strengths and unique identities. This day allows agencies like Tikinagan to build better networks of support by increasing participation of community members and partners so that children and youth in and from care feel supported and thrive. It also helps to destigmatize views about children and youth in and from care by increasing awareness and understanding with the public.

Strang (pictured), a former youth in care and advocate on Tikinagan’s youth team Noodawishinaam Oshkiniigiwag (Hear Us Youth), wants children and youth in care to have more stability and understand that there are caring people in their lives who will help them succeed. As as part of her role on Noodawishinaam Oshkiniigiwag, she wants to give children and youth in care a voice, supporting those who are going through similar experiences.

“Children and Youth in Care Day is an opportunity to show children and youth in care that there are people who want them to feel heard. But we can’t do it alone. We need the help of extended family, community members, teachers, and even Tikinagan workers.”

In addition to the digital book, Tikinagan has released an Educators toolkit, which includes lesson plans for educators and foster parents, a “Paper Family” activity for students, and information about Children and Youth in Care Day.

How We Stay Safe was developed in consultation with Tikinagan child care workers. It answers questions such as “What does staying with a Foster Parent look like?” In addition to the story, there are activities for children at the back of the book. The book was written and illustrated by Tikinagan Communications Assistant, Jacinda Brisson, based out of Red Lake, ON.

To download your digital copy or order your print copy of How We Stay Safe, click here

To learn more about Children and Youth in Care day, go to Tikinagan.org/children-and-youth-in-care-day.