Hamilton Children’s Aid Society and Empowerment Squared are excited to learn that the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services is investing $800,000 annually in One Vision, One Voice, the community-led initiative with a focus on addressing anti-Black racism in Ontario. A portion of this funding will go toward activities in Hamilton.

This positive news was shared by MPP Jane McKenna, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, at a visit to Hamilton CAS headquarters on Tuesday, June 20, 2021.

“We recognize that Black and racialized children and families are overrepresented in the child welfare system, including at our agency,” said Bryan Shone, Executive Director of Hamilton CAS. One Vision, One Voice continues to provide us with an opportunity to adjust our practices, engage communities, and reinvent a system that ensures Black children, youth and families in the community, and in care, have access to services that will support, promote, and enhance their overall health and well-being.”

As part of the Ontario-wide One Vision, One Voice initiative, Hamilton CAS and Empowerment Squared started working together in 2019 and held a series of local consultations and town hall meetings with members of the community to get feedback and look at how to support newcomers and look at the services they are provided through an anti-Black racism lens. This feedback was essential and informed the need for a collaborative and integrated framework with partner agencies.

In partnership with Empowerment Squared, Hamilton CAS’ implementation of the One Vision, One Voice framework has guided:

  • The creation of a specialized Newcomer & Racialized Team at Hamilton CAS
  • An at-home safety course to support teaching youth about alternative caring arrangements for children in their family and community
  • Programs to help marginalized groups better understand the role of Children’s Aid Societies
  • A referral system that allows for early help and support for Black and racialized families

The families served by Empowerment Squared and Hamilton CAS are now sharing that they are becoming more comfortable with reaching out to work with CAS in a proactive way and are less fearful of the stigma that can be associated with Children’s Aid Societies.

Driven by the One Vision, One Voice framework, the partnership between the two organizations continues to move the mission and vision of both agencies forward and improve services for newcomer and racialized families in the Hamilton community.

For more information, please contact:

Jayme Noordermeer
Fund Development & Communications Coordinator, Hamilton CAS

Priya Goorbarry
Director, Operation and Administration, Empowerment Squared