All children have the right to grow, thrive, and lead happy, healthy lives. But kids who have experienced abuse, neglect, and abandonment need our help to get there.

Children’s Aid Foundation is Canada’s leading charity dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth in the child welfare system. We raise and grant funds and deliver a wide range of high-impact programs and services to provide access to the opportunities these children need to reach their potential against all odds. Last year, through the support of our generous donors, we transformed the lives of over 24,000 children and youth. All children have the right to become healthy, contributing members of society.

They depend on us. We depend on you. Join us and help Canada’s most vulnerable kids break the cycle and define a successful future for themselves.

The theme of this year’s Impact Report is Stronger Together – because we are stronger together in our efforts to provide the support children and young people who have experienced abuse, neglect, and abandonment need to thrive. It speaks to the role Children’s Aid Foundation plays across the country, galvanizing a community of those who care about the children we serve and, of course, to the strength and resilience of young people in and from care.

The momentum behind our movement is growing. Thanks to the support of our generous donors and child- and youth-serving partners, 2016-17 was another record-breaking year for Children’s Aid Foundation. Not only did we raise our highest annual revenue to date – an incredible $10.8 million – we reached a record total of 24,000 children and youth.

Excitingly, this year we also surpassed the midway point of the National Campaign for Child Welfare. Since the launch of the Campaign in 2014, we have raised over $37.7 million dollars and helped over 67,000 children and youth across the country.

Through the programs we fund and deliver, we provide the opportunities our youth need to move forward with their lives and create a lifetime of their own unstoppable success. We could not achieve this without the support of our child- and youth-serving agency partners, and certainly not without our donors.

As you will read in the pages that follow, philanthropy is the driving force behind the partnerships we have forged in communities from coast-to-coast, allowing us to address the challenges facing vulnerable children and youth at all stages in their lives.

The needs of the young people we serve are highly individual – no two young people, or their circumstances, are exactly the same. That is why we launched the Teddy Bear Fund last year, a long-term, stable source of funding addressing the most urgent needs of children in care in the community. Created in recognition of the 30th anniversary of the Children’s Aid Foundation Gala – Teddy Bear Affair, the Teddy Bear Fund raised an incredible $1.9 million in its first year.

We are profoundly grateful to you – our community – for your heartfelt support. Together, we are transforming the lives of kids across Canada and, in turn, empowering them to catalyze change for future generations. Thank you.

Valerie McMurtry - President and CEO

Valerie McMurtry
President and CEO

Barry Hildred - Chair, Board of Directors

Barry Hildred
Chair, Board of Directors

Right now, there are approximately 67,000 Canadian children living in permanent care with foster families, extended family, or in group homes. 235,000 children and youth have experienced or are at risk of experiencing abuse and neglect. Sadly, this number is likely much higher as this only reflects the cases reported.

The reasons why children come into care are complex, but are never a child’s fault. They can include poverty, addiction, mental health challenges, isolation and lack of a parenting support network, and the legacy of intergenerational trauma.

These kids need our help. Because without support, they face incredible odds to a brighter future; less than 50 per cent high school graduation rate and are 200 times more likely than their peers to experience homelessness. 82% of kids in care are diagnosed with special needs and nearly all have experienced childhood trauma.

That’s where we come in. Children’s Aid Foundation is mobilizing Canadians in support of children and youth growing up in the child welfare system. Together with our community, we are helping them move from surviving to thriving, and empowering them to break the cycle of abuse and neglect they were born into through no fault of their own.

Working with 72 child- and youth-serving agencies in nearly every province and territory across Canada, we raise and grant funds and strategically deliver programs that fill the gaps between what the government is able to provide and what children and youth need to move confidently forward and create a bold vision of success for themselves.

But we can’t do it alone. In the following pages, you will meet some of the bold youth advocates, donors, and service-delivery partners who are working to create change for children and youth growing up in care.

Because we are stronger together in our efforts to transform their lives.



dollars raised



$10.5 million

granted to provide life-changing support to children and youth across canada.


young people reached

4,301 children and youth supported through prevention programs that support families, strengthen communities, and prevent kids from entering care.


children and youth supported through prevention programs that support families, strengthen communities, and prevent kids from entering care.
6,641 young people provided healing and recovery supports, including physical and mental health care not covered by public funding.


young people provided healing and recovery supports, including physical and mental health care not covered by public funding.
9,268 kids provided with enrichment programs like camps, sports, and the arts that build confidence and a positive identity.


kids provided with enrichment programs like camps, sports, and the arts that build confidence and a positive identity.
4,442 children and youth empowered to achieve an education


children and youth empowered to achieve an education.


event attendees


youth advocates shared their lived experience to inform the Foundation’s work


CAF Selected Highlights 2016-17

May 2016
To help meet the unique needs of Indigenous children in care, Children’s Aid Foundation hosted a Roundtable on Philanthropy in Indigenous Child Welfare. Leaders from the Indigenous child welfare community came together to discuss the needs of Indigenous children and youth in and from care and the ways philanthropy can fulfill these needs.

June 2016
Children’s Aid Foundation announces a transformational $2 million investment over three years to establish programs in British Columbia, affecting more than 4,500 children and youth.

September 2016
The celebrity-studded AMBI Gala was the place to be at the start of the Toronto International Film Festival. Thanks to the leadership of Chair Sylvia Mantella and the Mantella Corporation, Children’s Aid Foundation was the lucky recipient of close to $95,000 from the proceeds of the Gala.

November 2016
The Children’s Aid Foundation Gala – Teddy Bear Affair celebrates its 30th anniversary, raising more than $1.9 million towards the most urgent needs of children in care in the Toronto community. In celebration of this milestone, Children’s Aid Foundation launches the Teddy Bear Fund, a source of stable funding to meet the changing needs of vulnerable kids.

December 2016
A new $1.8 million endowment created through a bequest from the late philanthropist Ilan Levy will allow youth from care across Canada to pursue post-graduate programs and recognize academic excellence through graduation awards.

January 2017
Through the support of Bell, Canada Post, and WB Family Foundation, Children’s Aid Foundation piloted the Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Program, offered through the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. Fifty children will have access to this evidence-based treatment and will work closely with a local, community-based mental health practitioner for 8 to 12 weeks of therapy to learn new ways of thinking and behaving in order to help them better cope with anxiety, depression and trauma.

Through donor-funded programs supporting children and youth at every stage of their education, Children’s Aid Foundation is helping young people break the barriers standing between them and their dreams.

Obtaining an education has an impact on almost every measure of health and well-being. For most young Canadians, a high-school education – a prerequisite for even entry-level jobs – is a given. But for young people growing up in foster care, a high-school diploma is a massive accomplishment: only 46 per cent make it to graduation day, compared with about 83 per cent of their peers.

The reasons behind this gap are complex. Experiencing childhood trauma can lead to challenges with behaviour, learning, and memory – all factors that can make school significantly more difficult. As well, the average young person in care moves to 5 or more foster homes, disrupting their education and the progress they’ve made each time. And yet an education is the single most powerful way to empower vulnerable kids to elevate themselves above their circumstances – and a catalyst towards a better future.

Children’s Aid Foundation offers a wide range of programs – all entirely funded through the generosity of our donors – to help make the dream of an education possible for children and youth across Canada. These include a post-secondary education program that supports over 500 students nationwide; the Pinball Clemons Foundation Ambassador School Program – an alternative high school for some of the most at-risk youth from care in Toronto; the HSBC Bank Canada National Transformation Project, which provides education support from primary to undergraduate levels; and the Scotiabank Stay in School Program.

Launched in 2005, the Scotiabank Stay in School Program is based in evidence showing that regular access to tutoring and awards celebrating a child’s accomplishments can motivate them to stay in school and build self-esteem – because investing in education during childhood is the most effective way to ensure their academic success over the long term. Since the program’s inception, Scotiabank has invested close to $4 million in this program, providing support for over 23,000 elementary and high school students through tutoring and financial incentives for academic success and graduation awards.

For Yuan, a Scotiabank Stay in School Program award recipient who entered care at the age of 9, the support of Children’s Aid Foundation and Scotiabank provided a critical source of encouragement starting in grade 7, allowing her to pursue a remarkable education: a music degree from Western University, a teaching degree from the University of Toronto, and a law degree – currently in progress – from McGill University.


“From grade 7 to grade 12, I received funding through the Scotiabank Stay in School Awards,” says Yuan. “I’m so thankful I was encouraged by these gifts, and by this award, and it set the stage for me to complete three degrees.”
YUAN – Former youth in care

“Young people are our future leaders, and Scotiabank is committed to nurturing their growth,” says Jacquie Ryan, Vice President, Sponsorship Marketing and Global Philanthropy at Scotiabank. “Young people from care need extra tools and resources to succeed, and we are proud to be helping them reach their infinite potential through the Scotiabank Stay in School Program.”

Thanks to a generous gift from the Slaight Family Foundation, Children’s Aid Foundation is ensuring youth from care can secure safe, stable housing as they transition from child welfare into independent living.

Each year, approximately 2,300 Canadian kids in the child welfare system “age out” on their 18th or 19th birthday, meaning that they no longer have access to the supports that they are used to, like a social worker, foster families, and other caregivers. Imagine expecting your own child to adjust to adulthood without your care and support: without help with groceries and bills when times are tough, hand-me-downs to furnish a first apartment, the family home to return to while they look for a job or contemplate their future, or even someone to teach them basic life skills like cooking or how to find a job. This is the reality for young people aging out of care.

And in addition to the challenges all young people face as they move out on their own, youth leaving care have other odds stacked against them: significantly higher risks of experiencing pregnancy at a young age, involvement with the criminal justice system, and complex health challenges.

To prevent young people from exiting the child welfare system into homelessness and poverty, Children’s Aid Foundation works with donors and youth-serving agency partners to offer programs targeting the specific needs of youth leaving care. One of these is the Slaight Family Right at Home Program – launched in 2016 with a $1 million gift from the Slaight Family Foundation – a ground-breaking initiative that helps young people leaving care find safe, stable housing and avoid homelessness.

Most Canadians are unaware of the risks youth face when transitioning out of care. Philanthropist Gary Slaight hopes that this gift will help bring this critical issue to light.

In its first year, the Slaight Family Right at Home Program helped 64 young people secure housing and 50 more work towards housing or maintain their current housing. Program offerings include financial supports like first and last month’s rent, access to a housing navigator to provide guidance and support, and short-term housing and support during times of transition and crisis.

The issue of youth homelessness is closely linked to child welfare – more than 68 per cent of homeless youth have had involvement with the child welfare system. That’s why Children’s Aid Foundation has taken a leadership role in the issue of youth homelessness with other sector leaders. Last year, in recognition of the work the Foundation has done to prevent homelessness in the child welfare population – including the Slaight Family Right at Home Program – Children’s Aid Foundation was invited to join the A Way Home Coalition’s funders table, a roundtable composed of funding leaders interested in helping the A Way Home Coalition with the bold goal of preventing and ending youth homelessness in Canada.

Thanks to our donors, who enable our sector leadership and program offerings, Children’s Aid Foundation is helping transitioning youth plot a course towards a better future.


“The care packages and kits with basic household items that youth receive make the transition [to independent living] easier. If you’ve never had an apartment, you don’t know what to put in that apartment.”
CRYSTAL – Former youth in care and recipient of the Slaight Family Right at Home Program

“We sincerely hope this gift will help many youth in transition find housing and learn appropriate skills to live independently and become contributing members of society. We also hope it will inspire others to help support youth in transition across the country.”
– Gary Slaight, President and Chief Executive Officer, Slaight Communications Inc.

The Children’s Aid Foundation’s Teddy Bear Fund – a new initiative launched to honour Toronto’s commitment to vulnerable children – is filling gaps for children in care in the community.

The Teddy Bear Fund will provide a long-term, stable source of funding addressing the most urgent needs of children in care and living at risk of abuse, neglect, and abandonment in the community. As the needs of these vulnerable young people change, the Teddy Bear Fund allows Children’s Aid Foundation to allocate essential resources where and when they are needed. Donations help support children in our community who have experienced abuse, neglect, and abandonment and ensure they have the resources they need to heal, find and pursue their passions, build a sense of self-worth, and move forward into a brighter future.

How donors help

Last year, our donors made a big impact on kids in our community

Teddy Bear Fund Impact

A Milestone Celebration: The 30th Anniversary of the Children’s Aid Foundation Gala – Teddy Bear Affair

For decades, the Children’s Aid Foundation Gala – Teddy Bear Affair has been one of the can’t-miss events on Toronto’s social calendar – an exciting celebration raising funds to support young people in care in the Toronto community. 2016 marked the 30th anniversary of this event, which raised a remarkable $1.9 million for vulnerable young people.

Anna Ho

Former youth in care and aerialist Anna Amy Ho stuns the crowd.

Victor and Maureen Dodig

Founding donors Victor and Maureen Dodig and Foundation President and CEO Valerie McMurtry (centre)

Founding Donors

Thank you very much to our Teddy Bear Fund Founding Donors, who each have committed $100,000+ to the Teddy Bear Fund since its inception:

Eric Bélanger & Marie-Claude Prud’homme
Bill Butt & Susan Quigley
Maureen & Victor Dodig and Family
Lynn Factor & Sheldon Inwentash
Linda & Robert J. Goldberger
Fred & Donna Leslie
Dougal & Barbara Macdonald
The Ovens Family
Cookie & Stephen Sandler In memory of Pinkle Sturgeon

TroyAs a child, it was really hard to comprehend what was happening. It was hard to understand why I wasn’t living with my mother. I was in grade three, and my mother was really struggling with mental health challenges. She was unable to take care of me like she wanted to. I entered care and at the age of 11 became a Crown ward. The first year and four months after I entered care I lived with one family, and then after that I was placed with a family who I lived with for 13 years, and now consider my permanent home.

When you’re a kid, knowing that other people have gone through the same experiences as you have gives you the courage to persevere. I always tried to be honest with myself about what my strengths and weaknesses were, and there’s a part of me that really wants to understand other people and how we’re different and the same. I don’t separate myself from anybody; I understand that anyone has the ability to recover from anything. If you ask the question ‘why is someone successful’, it’s the fact that they have learned from their failures. If you don’t fail at anything, you won’t be able to succeed at anything.

Access to education has meant everything in my life. Through Foundation scholarships, I was able to attend university, and recently became a graduate. You can improve your life, your wellbeing, your mind, body, soul, with education. Education prepares you for a lot of things in life; success and failure.

People need to understand that whatever you put in, you get out. That dynamic is everywhere. If you want to witness the success of the next generation, you have to put into it, and support it. If you don’t, it becomes very difficult for youth from care to move on and become resilient, and that process is made easier with support from Children’s Aid Foundation. I know it definitely was made easier for me.

Partnerships are integral to the work of Children’s Aid Foundation. We recognize that there are limitations and gaps within the current child welfare system and we believe strongly that we all have a role to play in improving outcomes for children. We believe that the opportunity for us to see significant improvements and achieve greater impact for children and youth in care dramatically increases when we work together. Our national network of partners ensure that donor dollars are effectively used to help the most vulnerable young people in communities across the country.

Our largest and founding partner is the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. While the number of partners we work with has increased over time, we remain committed to supporting the children and youth served by the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.

This year, Children’s Aid Foundation worked in partnership with 72 child welfare and child and youth serving partners in a variety of different ways.

View a list of Children’s Aid Foundation Partner Organizations

Thanks to our Donors, we’re stronger together and making a big impact on kids across the country.

$37.37 million raised
62% of our $60 million goal


67,502 children and youth have been helped since the launch of the National Campaign for Child Welfare in 2014

Campaign Highlights 2016–17

With the leadership support of 11 Founding Donors and a strong base of community support, the Teddy Bear Fund is providing critical funding addressing the most urgent needs of over 9,000 children in the child welfare system annually who have experienced abuse, neglect and abandonment.

RBC Foundation will ensure that approximately 800 young people leaving care have the skills they need to move forward into a brighter future through the Youth Works Supported by RBC Future Launch, a new national employability program.

Every year, TD Bank Group provides support for extra education resources, such as scholarship support and the London Success Project in London, Ontario. TD Bank is also a long-time sponsor of the Children’s Aid Foundation Gala – Teddy Bear Affair and the Joe Carter Classic.

Over the past seven years, the Joe Carter Classic has raised over $1.5 million, supporting programs that build stronger families and communities in the Toronto area. The Joe Carter Classic also provides ongoing educational support through three endowed scholarships.

BMO Financial Group is providing over 200 Black youth leaving the care of the child welfare system with peer support (academic counseling and mental health) through CHEERS (Creating Hope and Ensuring Excellent Roads to Success).

Continuing the legacy of our annual Women’s Golf Classic tournament, Fluid Events hosts hundreds of executive women on the golf course every spring in support of Children’s Aid Foundation and the 24,000 children and youth we serve across Canada.

2016-17 Children’s Aid Foundation Board of Directors

Barry Hildred
Chair of the Board of Directors, Children’s Aid Foundation
CEO, Aquila Resources

Lynn Factor, O.Ont, MSW, RSW, LLD
Past Chair of the Board of Directors, Children’s Aid Foundation
Child Witness Advocate, Boost Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention

Lynn Belzberg
Corporate Director, Social Worker

Bill Butt
Corporate Director

Andrew W. Dunn, FCPA
Treasurer, Children’s Aid Foundation
Founder & Managing Partner, Canadian Shield Capital

Christian Exshaw
Managing Director and Head, Capital Markets and Trading, Wholesale Banking, CIBC

Charyl Galpin, FICB, ICD.D
Chief Regulatory Officer, BMO Wealth Management

Brian Gluckstein
Principal Interior Designer, Gluckstein Design

Jason Henderson
Executive Vice President Head of Global Banking and Markets,
HSBC Bank Canada

Dougal Macdonald
President & Managing Director-Investment Banking Division, Morgan Stanley
Canada Ltd.

Shannon McGinnis
Senior Vice President, Retail Risk Management, TD Bank Group

Brian Mergelas
Corporate Director

Victoria Pelletier
CEO, ValidateIT Technologies

Jenny Poulos
Senior Vice President Human Resources Personal and Global Recruitment,
RBC Royal Bank of Canada

Gordon G. Raman
Secretary, Children’s Aid Foundation
Partner, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

Jan Sampson
Vice President, Sales & Marketing,
CI Investments

Sandra Roberts, CRMA
Partner, PwC Canada, Risk Assurance
Public Sector/Healthcare

Donna E. Toth
Corporate Director

Campaign Leadership Council

Bill Butt, Co-Chair
Laura Dottori-Attanasio, Co-Chair
Dougal Macdonald, Co-Chair

Eric Bélanger
Ted Boyd
Scott Burrows
Joseph C. Canavan
Mark Daniels
Andrew W. Dunn, FCA
Christian Exshaw
Lynn Factor
Richard D. Falconer
Brian Gluckstein
Jason Henderson
Barry Hildred
Peter Rawlins
John Sherrington
Donna E. Toth
Andrea Weissman-Daniels

Young People’s Advisory Council 2016-17

Tolumade Atkinson
Alisha Brooks
Crystal Groves
Brittany Herbold
Anna Amy Ho
Christina Li
Shyanne Nichols
Shameer Rahman
Melissa Sayers
Riley Spence
Jemal Thompson

Honorary Council 2016-17

Sheila R. Block
Joseph C. Canavan
Peter H. Lee
David Leith
Noella Milne
John Sherrington
Susan Storey

2016 Scholarship Award Committee

Lynn Factor, Chair
Carina Chan
Louise Collins
Brian Gluckstein
Barry Hildred
Marie MacDonald
Shannon McGinnis
Brian Mergelas
John Millman
Myles Mindham
Victoria Pelletier
Julie Peyaut
Gordon Raman
Ilona Torontali

Round Tables

A Way Home Funders Table
Building Partnerships for Permanency
Roundtable on Philanthropy in Indigenous Child Welfare
Youth Transitioning Working Group

Communication Preferences

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this list. If an error has been made please accept our sincerest apologies and contact us so that we can update your information.

Let us know if we can assist you with the following:

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  3. Updating your general communication preferences

Please contact Angie Docking,
Development Officer, Stewardship at
adocking@cafdn.org or call
(416) 923-0924 x230.

At Children’s Aid Foundation, we are committed to protecting your personal information. The information we collect is used to keep our donors, volunteers and friends informed about our programs and services, and to ask for your financial support. At any time, you have the right to request that your personal information cease to be used and/ or for fundraising purposes. For the complete notice of your protection and privacy and the Donor Bill of Rights, please visit: cafdn.org/about-us/accountability/.

Download the 2016 – 2017 impact report (PDF)

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