With approximately 76,000 children and youth across Canada living in foster homes, residential facilities, and supervised care, the demand for extra support remains high. With many children and young people faced with the uncertainty that comes with being removed from your family, sometimes permanently, and uprooted from everything and everyone you’ve ever known, it’s not surprising that many youth living in care face various psychological challenges. That’s why, with the support of the newly-launched Ted & Loretta Rogers Foster Care Transition Program, the Children’s Aid Foundation is funding comfort kits to support kids entering the foster care system.
In 2014 alone, 2,000 backpacks were delivered to children and youth entering foster care across Canada. Another estimated 3,500 will be delivered in 2015.
“Comfort kits provide tools to assist with the transition into care,” says Blair Boddy of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. “Items included in the backpack are meant to help children cope during this often difficult time.” Including items like hygienic necessities, blankets, gift cards, journals, art sets, books on being in care, mp3 players for kids who like to express or relax through music, and a teddy bear, these kits are designed to offer a sense of stability for youth during one of the most unstable experiences of their lives. With books selected to send the message “you are not alone”, other items help foster parents or kin family connect with children and youth in a positive way. Each kit also comes with a card. “In this card,” explains Boddy, “are kind words to help the child or youth know that they are being thought of. It acknowledges the difficult and, at times, scary journey they are taking [and that] there are people who care about them.” Learn more about how you can support youth in care.