OVOV relaunches guide on navigating the child welfare system for Ontario’s Black community

One Vision One Voice (OVOV) has released an updated version of our guidebook Navigating the Child Welfare System: A Guide for Ontario’s Black Community, which includes a fresh look and new resources. The guide uses plain language and highlights resources and information to help families in contact with a Children’s Aid Society understand more about the process, where to get social and legal help in their community, and culturally appropriate and family-centered approaches such as Kinship placements and Family Group Conferencing. The guide is available in English and French.

“We’re excited to provide African Canadian families with support to help our families and communities engage more effectively in a system that wasn’t designed with them and their identity in mind,” said Keishia Facey, manager of the OVOV program.

Knowledge is power, and the goal of the Navigating the Child Welfare System guide is to equip the community with an understanding of the child welfare system to strengthen advocacy opportunities, leading to better outcomes and reducing the power gap. In the African Canadian community, we understand the important role that community has in nurturing and keeping our children safe. "It takes a village to raise a child" is an African proverb that reflects the shared responsibility among community members to ensure safe and healthy environments for our children to thrive in.

The guide also provides helpful information for agencies and organizations working with African Canadian families about anti-Black racism and how anti-Black racism contributes to disparities and the overrepresentation of Black families involved with child welfare. It is important to check bias before making a report to a Children’s Aid Society. Stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, ability, poverty, ability, gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation can result in referrals to child welfare instead of community-based and prevention-oriented supports for African Canadian families.

One Vision One Voice is a program led by the African Canadian community. It is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services through the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies and addresses the overrepresentation and experiences of disparities faced by African Canadians after coming into contact with the child welfare system.

Want to learn more about the One Vision One Voice program and the work the Ontario child welfare sector is doing to address anti-Black racism? Visit the program page or contact the One Vision One Voice team at onevisiononevoice@oacas.org.

Hear more from Keishia as she discusses the updates to the Navigating the Child Welfare System guidebook for Ontario’s Black community.

Download the updated guide in English and French.