Over 93% of youth from care who applied to Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada’s crisis support fund sought help for food and housing
(Toronto, ON – May 26, 2020) – Over 93% of former youth from care of the child welfare system who applied last month to Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada’s COVID-19 Crisis Support Fund sought emergency assistance to pay for food and housing, reflective of the ongoing need amongst Canada’s most vulnerable youth for help with basic necessities during the pandemic.
Of the 2,107 former youth in care who applied to the Foundation’s COVID-19 Crisis Support Fund at the beginning of April, 40% also requested financial assistance to pay for mental health counselling and therapy during COVID-19. For many youth from care, the pandemic has heightened pre-existing feelings of fear, isolation and anxiety, all while they continue to heal from underlying mental health issues related to childhood trauma. Applicants ranged in age from 18 to 30, with 83% of applicants aged 18 to 25. Of those who applied, 34% were in school and 46% were unemployed.
After opening applications for the COVID-19 Crisis Support Fund in April, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada was overwhelmed by the demand, with over 2,000 youth applying for assistance in the first 48-hours. This has led the Foundation to continue its emergency fundraising campaign in order to get more funding into the community as quickly as possible via youth-serving agency partners and directly to young people in need. Donations to help former youth from care during COVID-19 can be made at cafdn.org .
“The pandemic has propelled youth who have ‘aged out’ of child welfare into a state of crisis and we are concerned that many of them are falling through the cracks,” says Valerie McMurtry, President and CEO, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, the country’s leading charity devoted to improving the lives of children and youth involved with the child welfare system. “We have been fortunate to receive incredible support from our donor community but we are looking to raise more emergency funds for former youth from care who need urgent assistance during COVID-19.”
Former youth from care transition out of child welfare systems across Canada to independent living starting at age 18. They are no longer eligible for assistance they received while living in foster care or group homes and do not have permanent families they can lean on for support.
Facing a myriad of challenges under normal circumstances, the pandemic has further exacerbated the obstacles former youth in care face, and with no family to turn to for support, they are feeling completely alone and isolated during COVID-19.
In response to the desperate need, Children’s Aid Foundation has received an outpouring of support from many donors including a substantial grant from the Ontario government of $500,000 and up to $1 million in matching contributions for new donations.
“We know COVID-19 has put pressure on all Ontarians, and nothing is more important than protecting the health and well-being of those in our province, especially former youth in care,” says Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues. “We recognize the positive impact Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is having on former youth across the province and our government is proud to support this initiative.”
To date, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada has raised $1 million in matching contributions from its close-knit community of donors including a vital donation from the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation and leadership gifts from The Slaight Family Foundation, La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso and online donations.
“The public health crisis has exacerbated the financial hardship that many youth from care face. That’s why we’re so proud to support the valiant efforts of the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada to help ensure vulnerable youth across the country have the basic essentials and support they so desperately need during this health emergency,” said Jill Schnarr, TELUS Friendly Future Foundation Board Member. “This contribution is part of TELUS’ broader commitment of $150 million to support Canadians during the pandemic and builds on our ongoing partnership with Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada through the TELUS Mobility for Good program which provides young people transitioning from care with the essential connectivity they need to stay safe and connected with loved ones and vital support services.”
Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada continues to raise emergency funds to provide youth across Canada with basic necessities during COVID-19. To help, donations can be made online at cafdn.org
About Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada
Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is our country’s leading charity dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth involved with the child welfare system. We raise and grant funds, and deliver a wide range of high-impact programs and services in partnership with 74 child-and youth-serving agency partners that support more than 22,200 vulnerable young people and 3,500 families annually. Stand Up for Kids is our national campaign for child welfare, which aims to change the futures of Canada’s most at-risk kids – those who have experienced abuse and neglect. We know that by helping these young people to overcome their trauma and break the cycle for future generations, they gain the strength and resilience to create a lifetime of their own unstoppable successes.
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Lisa Lipkin Communications