On May 14th we come together to celebrate Children and Youth in Care Day. It is a day that highlights the children and young adults that are currently in the foster care system and have been in the care system and ‘aged out’ or left care. It is a day that is important for everyone in the province of Ontario but holds special importance for youth who have lived experience.
What we are not celebrating today is the current politics in this province that are working to silence youth voice. We cannot ignore that youth in and from care services and supports have been slashed. We cannot shy away from the fact that youth in and from care will be most impacted by these cruel cuts.
Instead, we will be celebrating the progress. We will celebrate the programs that have come into place that specifically focus on finding youth and young adults permanent homes. We will continue to celebrate and praise other programs that focus on supporting young adults once they are forced to leave the foster care system.
We will also celebrate the awareness that is brought to all children and youth within the foster care system because of days such as Children and Youth in Care Day. We rejoice in the fact that these children and youth are able to share their stories and be heard by many across the province today.
We rejoice in the fact that these children and youth are able to share their stories and be heard by many across the province today.
Finally, and possibly most importantly, we celebrate everyone who has experienced or continues to experience being a child or youth in care. Today we will celebrate them and applaud them for their strength and courage.
We remember that this day started because children and youth with lived experience chose to name the world around them. We continue to celebrate that youth are stepping up and speaking for their community with hope, bravery, and courage. We honour this strength today and all days.
Just because Children and Youth in Care Day ends on May 15th, does not mean these children and youths experiences with and in foster care is anywhere near over. We must continue working with and for children and youth in care to improve their futures.
Author: Ashley Ash, Member of NTL Team