Children & Youth In Care Day
Children and Youth in Care Day at The Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton
May 14th is Ontario’s Children and Youth in Care Day; an annual day acknowledging the enormous contributions current and former Crown and Society wards make to the province, as well as the strength, bravery, and resilience shown by these children and youth in the face of adversity.
Children’s aid societies across the province celebrate this day hosting various events and activities. The Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton hosted our first Children and Youth in Care Day event held on May 16th at the agency. Children and youth in the care our Society, along with their foster parents, Children’s Services Workers, and other agency staff gathered on the back gardens and filled the agency’s Training Centre with food, games and activities, smiles, laughter, and fun! And some reptiles, too!
Carnival-style games were set up across the garden where the children and youth tested, among others, their ball-tossing skills before stopping at the face-painting table. Another group of youth kept an energetic game of badminton going strong while some of the younger children climbed aboard a fire truck with the firefighters who were in attendance. Popcorn was popped and cotton candy spun to the delight of our sticky-faced children and youth!
Inside, tables filled with pizza, fruits and veggies, cupcakes and chips were enjoyed by children and youth along with their foster families and staff. Older youth had an opportunity to join a Poetry Slam/Open Mic session and each of our training rooms were filled with activities for the children and youth to take part in, including making their own bird house craft and creating slime with Mad Science.
Wrapping up the event, The Travelling Reptile Show gathered the children and youth who piled up on the carpet to meet some new reptilian friends including lizards, frogs, and snakes, and even an American alligator and giant Burmese python named Marshmallow! The children and youth were taught about each reptile, where it came from, what it eats, and what it needs to stay healthy, and then every child and youth who wanted to touch, got an up-close and personal opportunity to do just that!
There are over 8,000 children and youth living under the care of the Crown and of Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario. This important day is one of a number of actions, which have taken place within the province to support and encourage these young people. The Child and Youth in Care Day brings attention to the countless contributions that child and youth in and leaving care make to Ontario. Many youth, both currently and formerly in care, have become ambassadors for youth advocacy within the child welfare system, influencing policy and legislation, inspiring change, creating awareness, and reducing the stigma related to being in care.
The Children and Youth in Care Day is an opportunity provincially to raise awareness about children and youth in care and to recommit to supporting them and helping them reach their full potential.