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National
Council of Youth in Care Advocates

About the National Council of Youth in Care Advocates

Youth in the child welfare system abruptly lose support from the state when they reach the age of majority, regardless of their readiness, or their emotional and financial needs.

This pattern of service removal leads to negative outcomes, including a heightened risk for homelessness, unemployment, poverty, poor mental health and early parenthood.

COVID-19 and the socio-economic upheaval associated with the pandemic are exacerbating the already precarious situation of youth in care.

In March 2020, CWLC and A Way Home Canada convened networks of youth in care and youth alumni from care to increase and coordinate their advocacy efforts, taking part in peer coaching and training sessions, and communicating their joint messages to decision makers and the Canadian public.

Meet The National Council of Youth in Care Advocates

The National Council of Youth in Care Advocates is made up of the following individuals and organizations outlined below. Click on the individual names to check out their bios and learn more about their work!

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Dr. Melanie Doucet

Senior Researcher & Project Manager

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Child Welfare League of Canada

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Managing Director

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A Way Home Canada

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Connor Lowes

Former Youth in Care & Advocate

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ON

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Teka Blackwater
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Ashley Bach

First Nations Former Youth in Care & Advocate

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ON

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Program Coordinator, Partners for Youth

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New Brunswick Youth in Care Network

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Jessica Knutson (on leave)
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Cheyanne Ratnam

Impact/Portfolio Manager - Youth in Care, Northpine Foundation

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Former Youth in Care & Advocate (ON)

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Rachel Gouin
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Holly Anderson
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Talina Henseleit

Executive Director

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C.A.R.E. Jeunesse (Quebec)

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Susan Russell

Former Youth in Care & Advocate

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BC

Achievements
to Date

The National Council of Youth in Care advocates secured temporary moratoriums on youth transitions out of the child protection system during the COVID-19 pandemic in most jurisdictions (see below).

In addition, the Council is currently co-developing universal protocol and policy that will guide healthy and supported transitions for youth leaving care.

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Achievements in Government

Engagement of National Council members, key allies and champions (including MPs and Senators) has increased considerably.

Government decision-makers in several jurisdictions have extended moratoriums, providing more safety for youth in care in the short term.

Key messages are being heard in the House of Commons and Senate via engaged champions who are committed to actively raising the issue with their political peers.

Government decision-makers  have requested to be involved and pursue discussion, with some indicating early interest in piloting the fidelity/ evaluation model once it has been finalized.

Other Achievements

Several jurisdictions have already started the process to implement systemic change and more permanent post-majority supports for youth in care in the longer term.

Financial support for the project has increased via new partnerships

Achievements in the Community

Media engagement has also increased and media features on the Equitable Standards have been positively received and widely shared on social media.

Opportunities for the general public to get involved and support the Equitable Standards have been created via free public webinars and letter templates to MPs and MLAs

The Equitable Standards and work associated with this project is being noticed across many disciplines, with citations in several reports to date and regular requests for consults from the project lead, Dr. Doucet.

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Proudly Supported By:

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