PUBLICATIONS AND FINANCIALS
For nearly 40 years, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada has been committed to improving the lives of children and youth involved in the child welfare system. Thanks to our incredible donors, we’re able to reach more children and youth in and from care, and create greater access to the supports they need so they can live full, rich lives. In 2017-18, in partnership with our donors and 77 child- and youth-serving agency partners, we supported more than 22,700 young people across Canada.
Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is committed to ensuring that a maximum amount of money goes to programs that directly benefit the young people we serve, keeping administrative costs low. In 2017-18, administrative and fundraising costs were 24% of total revenues (each accounting for 12%). For every dollar raised, 76 cents went to programming that supports vulnerable children and youth. Our cost of fundraising is on par with what other reputable Canadian fundraising organizations have reported and is well below the CRA’s acceptable ratio of 35 cents per dollar raised. Learn more about our work’s reach in our most recent Annual Report below.
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.
We heard over and over again about the need for youth engagement guidelines specific to the child welfare sector throughout the Bus Ride Home Project. These guidelines become one of the top seven recommendations in the final report.
Young people with lived child welfare experience have long been working to improve the child welfare sector. Despite finding the work meaningful and important, those consulted during the Bus Ride Home Project reported inconsistencies and concerns about how organizations engage young people, particularly in the areas of:
- informed consent,
- transparency and accountability,
- adult allyship,
- respect for lived and professional expertise,
- development and leadership opportunities,
- accessibility and inclusivity,
- safe spaces,
- support and self-care.
We are proud to share this resource with anyone working in the child welfare sector or anyone keen to reflect upon how to engage and be a better ally to young people who have experienced the child welfare system. This is a living document, developed in consultation with one group of people with their own experiences, biases and priorities; we welcome feedback to strengthen the resource in the years to come. In time there may be an opportunity to offer youth-led training as a companion to the guide.
Thank you to the members of the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada’s Youth Engagement Task Force for your invaluable input and assistance in creating this resource: Carina Chan, Katharine Chen, Troy Elleston, Anna Amy Ho, Christina Li, Lisa Mickleborough, Louisa Niedermann, Victoria Pelletier, Cheyanne Ratnam, Breanna Ryan, Tanya Shahriar, Reshma Shiwcharren, Riley Spence and Jemal Thompson.