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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.


The National Council of Youth in Care Advocates is made up of the following individuals and organizations: 

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Dr. Melanie Doucet

Senior Researcher & Project Manager


Tanya Ironstone Locke

Executive Director

Child Welfare League of Canada

Ashley Bach

First Nations former youth in care & advocate (ON)

Rachel Gouin

Executive Director,
Le CAP – Centre d’appui et de prévention

Conner Lowes

Former youth in care & advocate (ON)

Marcelle Partouche and Dez Grégoire

Coordinators, Montreal Youth in Care Alumni Student Association (MYCASA)

Cheyanne Ratnam

Impact/Portfolio Manager - Youth In Care, Northpine Foundation

Former youth in care & advocate (ON)

David French

Managing Director

Francesca Tauvette

Operations Manager

A Way Home Canada

Jessica Knutson (on leave), Holly Anderson, Teka Blackwater

Youth Advisory Committee, Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society

Jennifer Dupuis


Talina Henseleit

Executive Director


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

Susan Russell​

Former youth in care & advocate (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.

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Under the leadership of Dr. Melanie Doucet, the council has released key recurring recommendations on ‘aging out’ of care that have been put forward by youth in and from care, advocates and researchers from across the country since the late 1980s. Click on the image to the left to access the English report!

Equitable Standards report
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The Equitable Standards report is a collaborative effort by our Senior Research and Project Manager, Dr. Melanie Doucet and the National Council of Youth in Care Advocates. Governments and service providers should be held to these standards to ensure transitions to adulthood are healthy and supported for youth in care across the country. Our overarching goal is to ensure that youth in care are afforded equitable supports and conditions for success, so they may thrive and not struggle to survive.

The accompanying Policy Brief, written by academic experts Dr. Doucet and Dr. Varda Mann-Feder, provides an overview of Canada’s position on transitions to adulthood for youth in care in comparison to other Western countries, and outlines key actions that need to be implemented by Federal, Provincial and Territorial governments in supporting more equitable transitions for youth in care across the country.

Letter Templates

Show your support for the Equitable Standards by sending a letter to your Member of Parliament (Federal) and your member of the Provincial/Territorial Legislative Assembly! 

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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