Teddy Bear Fund
Every child deserves a safe, nurturing home and the support they need to realize their dreams. But kids in the child welfare system lack many of the things other kids take for granted.
For kids in care, a teddy bear might be their only constant in a life of upheaval and uncertainty – something to cling to when times are tough. Just as a teddy bear provides comfort and security throughout an entire childhood, the Children’s Aid Foundation Teddy Bear Fund will be a long-term, stable source of funding addressing the most urgent needs of children and young people who have experienced abuse, neglect, and abandonment. The Teddy Bear Fund was created to be responsive to the changing needs of kids as they grow and will allow us to allocate essential resources where they are needed, when they are needed by the children who depend on us.
A gift to the Teddy Bear Fund is symbolic of adding a child in care to your own family. In Canada, it costs approximately $250,000 to raise a child to adulthood. Gifts to the Teddy Bear Fund fill the gap between what children in care need to survive and what they need to thrive – much as a caring parent would.
Our children have extraordinary resilience and strength. When they are given the same supports as other young people, they have limitless possibility for a better life.
- KEEPING FAMILIES TOGETHER
All children deserve a safe, stable home and the security of belonging to a permanent family. Right now, 250,000 Canadian kids are at risk of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Once they enter the child welfare system, it’s rare they find any sense of permanence and belonging – the average child in care moves to 5 different foster homes before they turn 18.The best situation is for families at risk to have the support they need to parent successfully and keep their kids at home. Your gift to the Teddy Bear Fund can help build stronger families and communities to prevent kids from entering the child welfare system.
- ENABLING SUCCESS AT SCHOOL
For young people in the child welfare system, achieving an education can completely transform their lives. Higher levels of education mean better jobs and the chance to break the cycle of abuse, neglect, and poverty for themselves and future generations. But kids in care face incredible odds to graduate. For many reasons, it’s more likely that kids in care won’t graduate from high school than they will. Even if they do, the disruptions to their education mean that they will often graduate high school later than the average young person and with lower grades. Your gift to the Teddy Bear Fund can help kids from care beat the odds, graduate, and create a brighter future for themselves through programs that remove the barriers young people in and from care face to achieving an education.
- MOVING BEYOND TRAUMA
Nearly every young person involved in the child welfare system has experienced trauma at a young age and 82 per cent have been diagnosed with special needs. Early childhood trauma has profound, complicated effects on kids that can linger throughout their entire lives, including mental health issues, an increased risk of serious illness later on in adulthood, and physical, cognitive, and intellectual deficits. These issues need to be addressed so children in care can go on to live healthier lives. Your gift to the Teddy Bear Fund will help ensure the children and youth we serve have the mental and physical health supports they need to heal, thrive, and move forward with strength and resilience.
- BECOMING INDEPENDENT ADULTS
Kids in the child welfare system “age out” on their 18th 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. Without the necessary supports to become self-sufficient, too often youth exit the child welfare system into homelessness and poverty. Your gift to the Teddy Bear Fund can help provide critical supports to young people as they transition from the child welfare system into adulthood.