OACAS Celebrates the 10th Anniversary of Children and Youth in Care Day by Relaunching its YouthCAN Provincial Youth Advisory Committee

Ensuring youth voices are embedded into the work that we do to support children, youth, and families across Ontario is critical. Hearing and learning from those with lived experience in child welfare helps us to understand the ways the system needs to shift and evolve.

That’s why the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) is relaunching the YouthCAN Provincial Youth Advisory Committee (YPYAC) in honour of the 10th anniversary of Children and Youth in Care Day. We recently welcomed 15 new members to the YPYAC, who will work alongside the One Vision One Voice (OVOV) Youth Action Committee (YAC), to inform the development and delivery of provincial programs, and provide input to our broader advocacy efforts to bring positive change to the Ontario child welfare system.

Today, the members of the YPYAC are meeting for the first time in person. They are coming together to build connections, learn more about OACAS, and celebrate ahead of Children and Youth in Care Day on May 14. The YPYAC will be joined by representatives from the OVOV YAC, other first voice advocates with connection to YouthCAN and OACAS, youth featured in our #ForgetMeNot campaign, and the youth engagement staff who champion this important work within our member agencies.

Children and Youth in Care Day was created because of the stories, experiences, and recommendations youth in and from care shared through the My Real Life Book report. The Ontario government officially recognized the day through the Children and Youth in Care Day Act, 2014. The purpose of the day is to recognize the valuable contributions of current and former youth in care to communities across Ontario. It is also a time to acknowledge the strength and resilience shown by these young people in the face of adversity.

OACAS is grateful to have had many young people contribute their time, expertise, and talent over the last decade, and beyond. We especially want to acknowledge the most recent outgoing provincial youth advisory committee members, who have shared invaluable feedback to OACAS over the past few years. We hope they will continue to use their voices to drive transformative change.

We look forward to working with the new YPYAC members in the weeks and months ahead!

To learn more about what OACAS is doing to recognize the 10th anniversary of Children and Youth in Care Day, visit www.oacas.org/forgetmenot.