For youth in and from child welfare, achieving a post-secondary education can often seem out of reach. Even if they are able to overcome barriers to primary and secondary school success, as well as the lower high school graduation rates for youth in care, additional barriers such as mental illness and a lack of family and financial support can prevent youth from care from being able to attend post-secondary school, let alone earn a degree or diploma. Among those who do graduate from high school, enrollment in post-secondary education is 66% less than the general population.

One way that Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada aims to remove the barriers these young people face in their primary, secondary, and post-secondary education is through wraparound supports, scholarships, and graduation awards that are made possible through the generosity of our donors. Thanks to our supporters, we are able to provide youth with a variety of support options at all levels of their education.

The HSBC Bank Canada National Transformation Project supports children and youth in and from care in achieving success in their education and future career by providing resources for their specific education-related needs such as tutoring, coaching, and advocacy in primary and secondary school; post-secondary scholarships, bursaries, and career track training through the Youth Opportunity Fund; and other wraparound supports through the Student Support Fund such as assistance with rent, access to physical and mental health supports, and other emergency funds.

Beginning in July 2015, the Project aimed to reach 3,014 youth, and this goal was officially reached in August 2019, during its first expansion year. As of November 2019, with partners in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Montreal, 3,595 youth across Canada have been supported in achieving future success through access to tutoring, vocational assessments, career counselling, courses and apprenticeships, post-secondary application fees, high school upgrading, and more.

Having access to support throughout their educational journey is truly life-changing for Canada’s most vulnerable children and youth. Ultimately, by providing these wraparound educational supports and access to a broad range of urgently required resources, HSBC’s investment is building the foundation for meaningful employment for young people in and from the child welfare system.

Stories of Impact:

LAURA* AND SONJA*

Laura and Sonja are twin girls in grade 4 who live in kinship care with their grandmother as their mother was unable to care for them and they were identified by members of their very small community as having high needs. After discovering that both girls were reading at a grade 2 level, their social worker applied for tutoring funds through the HSBC Bank Canada National Transformation Project. Thanks to this funding, both girls now have ongoing tutoring support in both math and reading. Laura and Sonja are getting ready to move on to grade 5, having gained a lot of confidence.

“Thank you so much for helping me in math, it is not so hard anymore and my sister and I really enjoy going to school now. We can keep up in class!”- LAURA, age 9.

*Names and visual identities have been protected.

When youth in care are supported in the completion of their education, they are given the help they need to pave the way for a brighter future, and the opportunity to create a lifetime of their own unstoppable successes.

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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