The Youth in Care Executive/Advisory Committee has continued to have input into the plans for the end of this fiscal year and the coming year. The Youth Executive/Advisory committee continues to try to look at ways to encourage younger youth to become involved as there has been a gap in the number of 16 and 17 year olds that are attending, and a significant contingent of older young adults that have taken on leadership roles and act as Mentors. Looking to engage youth in care when they are younger may be the key to bridging the gap. We can see that several of the 15 year olds that have been encouraged to attend are turning 16 in the coming year and appear to be engaging in a way that may allow for consistent involvement. This has suggested a continuation of the programming that is geared to younger youth in care with more simple activities, life skills and crafts being introduced.
Kawartha-Haliburton Youth in Care Group
Youth in Care Group have an opportunity to meet, engage, support and talk to one another through the KHCAS Youth in Care network. There are different components the network which include mentoring, activities and events, support groups, seasonal celebration lunches, attending the annual YouthCan conferences, summer programming, and coordinating the celebration of Child and Youth in Care Day. Some of these events have included spring lunch, bowling, movies, lacrosse, wonderland, lift lock cruise.
The Youth Executive Group/Youth Advisory Committee
The Youth Executive is an established group of youth of in care of the Kawartha-Haliburton Children’s Aid Society who are involved in planning for youth in care activities throughout the year. Members of the Youth Executive Group/Youth Advisory Committee meet regularly, and participate in regional YouthCan meetings, strategic planning and visioning for the network, develop opportunities for Youth in Care feedback for KHCAS, and attend Eastern Zone YouthCan events. Leadership roles have included Youth in Care leaders, Mentor group leaders, LGBT group leaders, youth space leaders, and strategic planning. They have taken leadership roles at youth in care activities, camp and conferences and are involved in all events.
Mentor/Youth Leaving Care Group
Mentor activities take place throughout the year. Mentor group activities and supports have included the development of social supports as youth transition to independent living; promoting wellness and self-care for youth in and leaving care, home improvements, and leisure activities.
Life Skill Groups
Life skills development and training opportunities are held intermittently throughout the year. Activities include cooking skills, health education, independent living, money management and financial skills. Some of the areas covered and events included college tours, cooking classes, community agency visits, local transit, knowledge about community resources, leadership skills, employment related activities and finding housing.
Financial and Life Skills Group
As a component of the life skills group, the focus of the financial literacy program is on educating and empowering youth and young adults with a variety of financial management techniques and strategies. Skill development and related programming focus on budgeting, banking, savings, and the overall need for financial planning.
Crown Ward Education Championship Teams
The Crown Ward Education Championship Teams (CWECT) are found throughout the province and were a tri-Ministry partnership between the Ministries of Education, Children and Youth Services and Training, Colleges and Universities. In the Kawartha-Haliburton jurisdiction, the CWECT has evolved into a collaboration who recognize the importance of education to children and youth in care and the significant impact it has to well-being and future access to employment and life opportunities.
Key partners in the Crown Ward Education Championship Team in our area include:
- Kawartha Pine Ridge School Board
- Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board
- Trillium Lakelands School Board
- Kawartha-Haliburton Children’s Aid Society
- Highland Shores Children’s Aid Society
- Victoria County Career Services
- Northern Lights Canada
- Trent University
- Fleming College
The Collaboration, working directly with youth has established a website dedicated to the educational supports and information for youth and former youth in care. Please read more at bethebold.ca
Children and Youth in Care Day Act, 2012
Wards of the Crown (permanent wardship) were given a voice through “Our Voice, Our Turn: Youth Leaving Care Hearings, a series of hearings organized by current and former wards of the province of Ontario. The hearings were before the Legislature and shed light on the challenges faced by children and youth in care and the critical supports needed to help each them reach their full potential. As a result of the impact of these hearings, the government, in 2014, proclaimed May 14 as Children and Youth in Care Day in Ontario.
Each year, the Kawartha-Haliburton Children’s Aid Society brings youth together to celebrate and honor their lived experience.
Youth in Care Canada
Did you know there is a National Youth in Care network in Canada. For more information please go to youthincare.ca