May 14 is Children and Youth in Care Day—a day dedicated to acknowledging the contributions that current and former youth in care make to the province, as well as their strength, bravery, and resilience in the face of adversity. Children and youth in care live in kinship, foster, or congregate care settings. They are children and youth who are unable to live with their primary caregiver. There may be a variety of reasons they cannot remain at home, though often their placement is temporary.
Our campaign, #ForgetMeNot, is about sharing the stories of young people from care and reminding community, government, and service providers that these young people continue to need critical supports, which is particularly relevant in the lead up to the provincial election.
Watch our campaign video—a reading of our original poem, Forget Me Not, by those with lived experience in the child welfare system—and let us introduce you to the seven extraordinary young people who are the faces of the campaign. Meet:
- Van: A talented artist and graphic designer who raised her own siblings as teenagers so they could stay together.
- Aidan: A lifelong learner who is now working in child welfare to improve the lives of young people in his community.
- Samuel: A trans man who is finding his independence through success at work and in his relationships.
- Rose: A gifted musician who channels her life experiences into her songs.
- Kaygan: A father of three, dedicated to breaking his family’s cycle of child welfare involvement with his own children.
- Troy: A research and technology professional who found permanency through adoption with his foster mother.
- Byanka: A francophone social work student who is using her experiences to advocate for better supports for those aging out of care.
“I was excited to be part of this campaign not just as one of the faces, but also as the designer and illustrator,” said Van Loc. “It means a lot to be able to share my story alongside my peers. So many people don’t know what it means to be in care. I hope this campaign will have an impact in building awareness.”
“It’s all of our responsibility to support the safety and well-being of children and youth in our communities,” said Nicole Bonnie, CEO of OACAS. “Children and youth in care need to know that they belong and that they have the support of their community. They need to know they are not alone. They need to know they are not forgotten.”
Learn more about the #ForgetMeNot campaign and how you can get involved, at oacas.org/forgetmenot.
About Children and Youth in Care Day:
This important day was created because of the tireless efforts of young people in and from care and the stories and experiences they shared through the My Real Life Book report. The day was proclaimed provincially in the Children and Youth in Care Day Act, 2014.
About the #ForgetMeNot campaign:
#ForgetMeNot is about sharing the stories of young people with experience in the system and reminding community, government, and service providers that these young people continue to need critical supports. The campaign was brought to life through the contributions of those with lived experience in the Ontario child welfare system. Thank you to everyone who made it possible.
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