Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada overwhelmed with demand for assistance amid pandemic


Published May 26, 2020 at 11:58 pm


A significant number of former youth from care of the child welfare system have had to apply for the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada’s COVID-19 Crisis Support Fund in order to pay for basic necessities such as food and housing.

Additionally, of the 2,107 youth in care who applied for the Foundation’s COVID-19 Crisis Support Fund at the beginning of April, 40 per cent also requested financial support to pay for mental health counselling and therapy related to the pandemic.

For a substantial number of youths in care, the pandemic has heightened feelings of pre-existing feelings of fear, isolation and anxiety.

Applicants ranged in age from 18 to 30 years old—83 per cent of applicants were between the ages of 18 and 25. Further, of those who applied, 34 per cent were in school and 46 per cent were unemployed.

After initially opening applications for the COVID-19 Crisis Support Fund in April, the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada was overwhelmed with demand—more than 2,000 youth applied for the program in the first 48 hours alone.

“The pandemic has propelled youth who have ‘aged out’ of child welfare into a state of crisis and we are concerned that many of them are falling through the cracks,” Valerie McMurtry, president and CEO of the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, said in a news release.

“We have been fortunate to receive incredible support from our donor community but we are looking to raise more emergency funds for former youth from care who need urgent assistance during COVID-19,” she continued.

As well, the pandemic has only exacerbated many of the issues youth in care and former youth in care are currently facing.

Starting at age 18, youth in care transition out of the welfare systems across the country and transition to independent living—they are no longer eligible for the assistance they received while living in foster care or group homes, and most don’t have families they can go to for support.

“We know COVID-19 has put pressure on all Ontarians, and nothing is more important than protecting the health and well-being of those in our province, especially former youth in care,” Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, said in the same release.

“We recognize the positive impact Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is having on former youth across the province and our government is proud to support this initiative,” she continued. 

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