Province investing in assistance for African Canadian and Black children and youth in care in Ontario

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Published July 20, 2021 at 3:45 pm

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On Tuesday (July 20), the Province announced it would be investing $800,000 per year in a new, community-led initiative intended to help combat anti-Black racism.

The program, called One Vision, One Voice, supports the delivery of culturally appropriate services to address the disproportionate representation of African Canadian and Black children and youth in the child welfare system, as well as significant disparities they face compared to other groups.

The purpose of the program is to deliver safe and suitable services for African Canadian and Black children, youth and families, including implementing an anti-Black racism training program for child welfare leaders, Aunties and Uncles, an initiative offering Black and African Canadian youth in care a Black mentor, or an “auntie or uncle,” who can provide a sense of cultural self-identity, multiple youth symposiums for African Canadian and Black Youth in Care and symposiums for all-Black staff, and an African Canadian service delivery model to help children’s aid societies support Black and African Canadian children, youth and families.

“This important work being done by the child welfare sector will provide Black children and youth with the supports they need to achieve their full potential,” Merilee Fullerton, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, said in a news release.

“These new supports will build on the incredible work of community organizations through the enhanced Ontario Black Youth Action Plan,” she continued.

African Canadian and Black children, youth and families often experience discrimination in the child welfare system, and face disproportionately poor outcomes as a result.

They are also overrepresented in the system—Black children and youth in care at the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto account for five times their representation in the city’s overall population.

“We commend the government for recognizing the damaging impact of the overrepresentation of African Canadians in the child welfare system,” Nicole Bonnie, Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies, said in the same release.

“This funding will help support the dismantling of anti-Black racism as it requires consistent, urgent and focused attention. The One Vision One Voice practice frameworks will provide societies with the tools to embed culturally relevant supports to help examine systemic issues related to anti-Black racism, policies and practices that create disparate outcomes for Black families,” she continued. 

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