Developing supports for youth with child welfare experience to thrive in their lives and in leading sector change.
In 2016, leadership from the Children’s Aid Foundation, the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth (OPACY), the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS), began discussing the urgent need to better support young child welfare change-makers as they engage in their work.
There are an estimated 600-900 young people with lived experience who are working for change in child welfare across Ontario at any given time, improving our system and communities. While we work to improve the lives of all young people in and from care, many in these roles are facing particular distress. The initiating partners heard from these young people about the urgent need for greater supports and committed to work together to make sure we do better and learn directly from young change-makers how we can.
The Children’s Aid Foundation, with support from the other initiating partners, led a five-month project to research support gaps and develop support solutions (services, programs and resources) in consultation with young child welfare change-makers and a few of their key agency allies. In consultation with key partners and 101 young people, the Bus Ride Home Project report captures 7 solutions that would significantly help address the support they need to thrive in their roles and in their lives.
Why is the project called “The Bus Ride Home?”
Leading up to this project, the initiating partners heard from their young people that being a child welfare change-maker who grew up in the system, can perhaps be best captured when imagining what happens for them when they leave behind their advocacy role for the day and go back to their lives, often on a long bus ride home.