Children and Youth in Care Day, proclaimed into law with the Children and Youth in Care Day Act, 2014, is an opportunity to acknowledge the valuable contributions that current and former youth in care make to the province, as well as the strength and resilience shown by these children and youth in the face of adversity.
This year, OACAS is continuing the #ForgetMeNot campaign by asking all Ontarians the question: Are you there for kids in care? This is a way to remind community, government, and service providers that these young people continue to need critical supports. They cannot be forgotten.
This year’s campaign emphasizes stories of young people with experience in the system and the influential people in their lives who contributed to their well-being. We want to encourage Ontarians to get involved in supporting their success.
Join us on May 14!
Forget-me-nots symbolize love and respect and represent a promise of remembrance. These tiny blooms are known for their resilience and their ability to grow in difficult circumstances and across environments.
This video was brought to life through the contributions of those with lived experience in the Ontario child welfare system. In order of appearance, thank you to: Michael, Alisha, Van, Troy, Elaine, Cheyanne, Rose, Elder Whabagoon, Aidan, Samuel, Rose-Ann, and Brittany.
Original poem by David Lewis-Peart
Original music by Saleen Freire and Saer Kazandjian
Flower designs by My Van Loc
Video produced by Tynan Studio
Thank you to everyone who made it possible.
Like the forget-me-not flower, children and youth in care are resilient and adaptable. But despite that strength, they still need consistent care, attention, and tangible support to thrive. These are just some of the ways you can show up for kids in care in your community.
Kids in care are often missing strong, supportive adult relationships. Consider mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters, StepStones for Youth, or through your local child welfare agency.
Meet seven inspiring young people and the individuals who have influenced their success and well-being. This could be you.
Van, a talented artist and graphic designer, met her fencing coach and mentor Brian at school. He helped her by believing in and supporting her inside and outside of the gym.
Rose, a gifted musician who channels her life experiences into her songs, credits her foster mom Jenn with inspiring her to pursue her talents and her faith.
Samuel met Severn through a community activity and she showed up for him in multiple ways over many years, including letting him stay with her and helping him find a job.
Kaygan, a father of four dedicated to breaking his family’s cycle of child welfare involvement, credits his grandparents with his ability to do that.
Troy is a research and technology professional who found permanency through adoption with his foster mother. Fostering can change lives. Troy’s story is proof of that.
Aidan is lifelong learner who gets support and encouragement in his studies and personal achievements from his brother Kevin.
OACAS was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Byanka Pétrin, a former youth in care from Ottawa. In 2022 and 2023, Byanka graciously shared her story with us as part of the #ForgetMeNot campaign. She was sweet, kind, thoughtful, and laughed easily. Byanka’s experience in the Ontario child welfare system inspired her to dedicate herself to helping others. She was a young social work professional in training and had dreams of being a foster parent one day. We are so grateful for what she brought to the campaign and for the opportunity to have worked with and alongside her. Byanka was also an active member of the OACAS Youth for Change Steering Committee and provided invaluable guidance and feedback on a number of initiatives and programs over the years.
We offer our deepest condolences to Byanka’s family, her foster family, the staff at the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa (CASO), and all those who loved her. To honour Byanka’s memory, CASO will hold a celebration of life and vigil. Those who wish to pay tribute to Byanka can make a donation to the Shepherds of Good Hope or to the Children’s Aid Foundation of Ottawa.
Children and Youth in Care Day takes place on May 14 every year. This 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.
Kids in care are children and youth who don’t live with their immediate families because of challenges or concerns at home. They may live with extended family, friends, or in a foster or group home.
The Forget Me Not poem was written by former kid in care David Lewis-Peart. You can download it here (8 x 11) or here (11 x 17).
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