At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada last March, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada created the COVID-19 Response ProgramThis emergency fund supported children and families being served by child welfare organizations and youth who have transitioned out of the child welfare system to address financial, emergency and other needs they are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This program was rolled-out in two phases. Phase 1 involved the Foundation administering direct grants to former youth in care to support their emergency needs such as housing costs, food and household supplies, mental health supports, technology support for e-learning and more, named the COVID-19 Youth Support Fund. Through this phase, the Fund was able to support a total of 1,913 former youth in care.

After gaining knowledge and learnings about how best to serve these populations from the first phase of the Program, and as the COVID-19 pandemic was moving from an acute emergency to a longer-term reality, the Foundation shifted the focus of our COVID-19 Response Program from providing direct grants to young people to partnering with organizations across Canada who were able to directly respond to the emerging needs of children, families, and former youth in care. To accomplish this, Phase 2 consisted of two new funds: the Child & Family Support Fund and the Support Fund for Former Youth in Care. Child- and youth-serving organizations and agencies were able to apply for Foundation support to run an emergency fund, program, or service.


TeamChild and Family Support Fund

The Child and Family Support Fund has assisted families throughout the pandemic with the hope of meeting emergency needs and reducing the number of children entering the child welfare system on a permanent basis. Through our partner agencies and organizations, families have accessed support for many areas, including:

  • Food and other essentials (i.e. hygiene supplies, diapers, formula, etc.)
  • Immediate shelter needs
  • Mental health supports
  • Technology support for e-learning

This funding also allowed partners to:

  • Adapt or realign existing service delivery and programs to a COVID-19 reality to support children and families at risk
  • Deliver new services or programs as a result of new needs or losses arising as a result of COVID-19

HugSupport Fund for Former Youth in Care

The Support Fund for Former Youth in Care has helped provide financial grants and/or programming support to youth who have transitioned out of the child welfare system to address financial and other needs they are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Partner agencies and organizations have been able to support emergency needs faced by youth such as:

  • Housing costs
  • Mental Health supports
  • Food and other essentials (i.e. hygiene supplies, diapers, formula, etc.)
  • Technology support for e-learning

This funding also allowed partners to:

  • Adapt or realign existing service delivery and programs to a COVID-19 reality to support youth in transition
  • Deliver new services or programs as a result of new needs or losses arising as a result of COVID-19.

Phase 2 Highlights


Impact

Survey results of families receiving supports indicate:

  • 78% of recipients experienced improved mental health
  • 63% of recipients experienced decreased feelings of isolation
  • 62% of recipients experienced reduced financial strain or stress

And of youth receiving supports:

  • 94% of recipients experienced reduced financial strain
  • 68% of recipients experienced increased food security
  • 62% of recipients experienced increased housing security

These impacts would not have been possible without the support of our generous donors who have shown an incredible commitment to children, youth, and families involved in the child welfare system and are in need of support during the COVID-19 crisis. Thank you.

Thank you to our front-line partner agencies and organizations across the country who are delivering these critical supports to the populations served by Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada. We are proud to have you standing with us every day, and especially during this difficult time.

 

About The Author

The Children's Aid Foundation of Canada funds programs to help Canada's most vulnerable children and youth, those who have experienced or are at risk of abuse and neglect, overcome the obstacles in life that prevent them from reaching their full potential. We are committed to giving ongoing support to those who need it most.

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