Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is our country’s leading charity dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth in the child welfare system.

Our vision

A future where the children and youth we serve have the strength and resilience to create a lifetime of their own unstoppable successes.

What is Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada?

We help kids in and from care go from surviving to thriving.

Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is our country’s leading national charity dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth in and from the child welfare system. Together with our community of dedicated donors and supporters, 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.

We strategically raise and grant funds, and develop programs that are delivered in partnership with 74 child- and youth-serving agencies across the country, with the objective of reaching the unique and diverse population of children, youth, and families involved in child welfare. We fill the gaps between what the government is able to provide and what vulnerable young people need to move confidently forward and create a bold vision of success for themselves.

But we can’t do it alone.

Join us in taking a stand for kids.

In 1979, a group of philanthropists came together with a vision and a plan to ensure that Canada’s most vulnerable children and youth would have sustained access to the resources they need to heal, thrive, and succeed. Their solution was to create a major endowment fund to launch the Children’s Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto Foundation, now known as the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, to guarantee ongoing support for the programs and services delivered by Canada’s largest child welfare agency. The founding partnership 41 years ago, continues to be our strongest and largest today.

In 2017, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada became a national charity, dedicated to serving children, youth, and families across the country by building strong partnerships with agencies across the country.

Together with the generosity of our donors, we look forward to continuing this rich legacy and continuing to grow in the years to come, and to building a better, stronger Canada one child at a time.

What does Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada do?

Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is an ally to and an advocate for children and youth involved in or at risk of entering the child welfare system. We:

  • Remove barriers that limit the potential of children and youth who have experienced or are at risk of experiencing abuse and neglect;
  • Provide a powerful voice for all those committed to the young people whom we serve; and
  • Provide access to the opportunities these young people need to build successful futures for themselves as contributing members of society who enjoy healthy relationships of their own.
How does Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada operate?

Since 1979, the Foundation has been strategically raising funds, providing grants, and developing programs that are delivered in partnership with child- and youth-serving partners at a local, regional, and national level, with the objective of reaching the unique and diverse population of young people involved in child welfare. We have had strong roots in the Toronto community since the beginning, and our largest and longest standing partnership is the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.

This work is supported by a growing list of Canada’s top philanthropists, corporations, business leaders, and government funding for specific programs.

To learn more about the impact of our programs on the lives of young people, visit cafdn.org/programs

How are you different from the Children’s Aid Society?

Unlike child welfare agencies, like the Children’s Aid Society, we are not a government agency. We are not directly involved in child protection, or investigation or apprehension, nor are we involved in the policies, practices, or governance of child welfare agencies. While Children’s Aid Societies provide child protection services in Ontario, every province has their own child protection system. The programs and services we fund are made possible through the generosity of our donors and supporters

Isn’t the government responsible for children and youth in care? Why are private donations required?

The government provides most of the basic life necessities for children and youth in care to age 18. But all kids need more than the basics to thrive – and kids in care face many additional barriers.

We bridge the gap between what the government provides and what young people in care need to be able to do things most young people do with the help of their families: achieving an education, developing a positive identity and self-esteem, building a healthy support network, pursuing their passions, transitioning to independent adulthood, and navigating employment.

Government funding does not currently address preventative programs that look to build stronger communities and families – supporting them to address issues that bring children and youth into care in the first place. The Foundation is proud to grant to child- and youth-serving agencies committed to building capacity at the community and family level.

We acknowledge the many lingering barriers and inequities for youth from care after they exit the system and make their transition to adulthood. The Foundation offers supports for youth over the age of 21 and up to their 30th birthday.

Who do we serve?

The children, youth, and families we serve are those who are in and from the child welfare system, from infancy to their 30th birthday. These children may have been taken into permanent care as crown wards, or living with their families under the watch of child protection agencies. Through circumstances beyond their control and no fault of their own, these young people lack almost everything most kids take for granted, like a safe, stable home, someone to nurture their growth, and a sense of unconditional love.

How is the Foundation using my donation? What is the cost of fundraising?

Last year, we granted over $17.5 million in programs and services supporting over 46,500 children and youth and 12,300 families across the country. These programs include; support to help young people from early childhood to post-secondary achieve an education, programs that support families and communities to help keep kids at home, enrichment opportunities like camp, sports, and the arts, and support for young people transitioning from care to independent living. To learn more about the impact our programs have on the lives of young people, read our Strategic Plan Year 1 Report.

In 2020-2021, our cost of fundraising was 12 per cent, with expenses held close to flat. We note a considerable decrease in our cost of fundraising due to our response to the COVID Pandemic.  The Foundation moved quickly to contain all expenses, while seeking significant donation for our COVID Response Program. This figure is on par with what other reputable Canadian fundraising organizations have reported and well below the CRA’s acceptable ratio of 35 per cent. To learn more about our commitment to accountability and transparency, visit www.cafdn.org/about-us/accountability

How do you support overrepresented populations of children and youth, including Black and Indigenous young people and families?

Together with our partners, donors and youth advisors, we are committed to developing and supporting targeted strategies that address the specific needs of Black, Indigenous and other overrepresented populations of children, youth and families involved with the child welfare system and reduce the number of young people from these populations coming into and growing up in care.

We are committed to:

  • Aligning the Foundation’s grants and programs with initiatives being delivered by our child welfare agency partners that specifically address the unique needs of Black and Indigenous children and youth.
  • Co-designing new programs with select child welfare partners to specifically address the systemic issues that lead to the overrepresentation of targeted populations in child welfare.
  • Engaging all Foundation stakeholders in ongoing education and learning to enhance knowledge and awareness of issues of social equity and justice.
  • Developing advisory groups or committees to inform our strategies to address the underlying conditions that lead to overrepresentation of Black, Indigenous and other populations of young people within the child welfare system.

You can read about how we are working to honour these commitments on our Blog here and here.

Learn more about our commitment to supporting overrepresented populations of children and youth, as well as other Foundation priorities in our Strategic Plan.