Children’s Aid Societies across the province are reaching out to Boards of Education, schools, and EarlyON and child care centres and asking them to partner on the Ontario Dress Purple Day campaign, which this year takes place on October 24. The day of action raises awareness about every child and youth’s right to safety and well-being, and the responsibility of adults to support them when they need help.
“The Ontario Dress Purple Day campaign offers an amazing opportunity for communities in Ontario to come together in a show of support for children and youth,” says Christina Campbell, campaign lead at OACAS. “On October 24 we will be letting kids know in every way we can that adults and social service organizations are there to support them if they need help.”
This is the second year that hundreds of schools across the province will participate in the campaign. Teachers and education professionals will be using specialized classroom resources to engage in age appropriate conversations about child abuse and neglect, with the goal of supporting students to acquire skills to reduce their vulnerability to harm. The classroom resources have been developed for OACAS by Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre and Windsor CAS, both organizations that have decades of experience teaching prevention in classrooms. Age appropriate prevention education for students was a recommendation coming out of the inquest into the death of Katelynn Sampson.
“Schools have a unique window into the lives of children and youth, and so play an important role in supporting their safety and well-being,” says Mary Ballantyne, CEO of the OACAS. “For many children and youth, schools are the one place where they may encounter helping adults who can support them to address any challenges they are facing.” Ontario’s 49 CASs are an essential part of the provincial safety net for children, but they rely heavily on professional and public referrals to do their work. Schools are one of the leading sources for child protection referrals made to CASs.
To learn more about the Ontario Dress Purple Day campaign and how you can join in as part of the community that cares for kids, visit oacas.org/dresspurpleday.