May 14 is Children & Youth in Care Day

Posted: April 30th, 2021

On Friday, May 14, Tikinagan Child & Family Services and Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) are raising awareness within and beyond the child welfare sector about the importance of caring for children and youth in/from care with Children and Youth in Care Day.

Proclaimed into law as the Children and Youth in Care Day Act in 2012, Children and Youth in Care Day offers an opportunity to recognize the enormous contributions that current and former youth in care make. The more people understand their unique lived-experiences, the more likely children and youth in and from care will get the supports they need to reach their full potential.

“As an agency, we recognize the importance of this day and honour the strength, bravery, and resilience shown by children and youth in the face of difficult times,” said Thelma Morris, Executive Director of Tikinagan Child & Family Services. “We hope this day will destigmatize views about children and youth in and from care by increasing public awareness and understanding.

“I think it’s important we celebrate the amazing success of children and youth in care who have connections to our 30 First Nation communities.”

To help share the stories and to support the new Children and Youth in Care Day campaign OACAS also has developed a new hashtag – #CARE4CARE – and logo. The lion in the new logo represents the bravery and courage these children and youth need in order to overcome the obstacles and challenges of being an individual in and from care.

There are approximately 12,000 children and youth in care in Ontario. Each year, 800 – 1,000 individuals “age out” and leave the care of the Ontario child welfare system.

This year, Tikinagan is pleased to join OACAS in their launch of a new mental health initiative, Take5, on May 14, 2021, for Children and Youth in Care Day. An interactive online space, Take5 is focused on reducing mental health risk and isolation for children and youth in care during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

With funding from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS), OACAS worked alongside our incredible Youth Advisory Committee, 20+ community organizations, experts and First Voice Advocates to create information resources, multimedia content, live workshops, and events for caregivers, children, and youth of all ages.

The OACAS Youth Advisory Committee chose the name Take5 to encompass the message of prioritizing self-care and mental well-being by pausing, reflecting, and taking a moment to breathe.

Similarly this year, Tikinagan’s annual Honouring Our Children Day will take place on Thursday, June 24. The Day, which started in 2010, is recognized and celebrated throughout the summer by the agency and in each of the 30 First Nation communities with family-friendly events. In the past, the Day has included community feasts, BBQs, games and activities, special guests, and even a jumpy castle. Much like Children and Youth in Care Day, this is just one way to remind children how important and special they are, as each community celebrates the day in its own unique way.