The Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton recognizes that Black children and families are overrepresented in the child welfare system, including at our agency, and we are committed, now more than ever, to reduce this overrepresentation. We also acknowledge that when Black children do come into care, there can be disparities of service. We have been active in the implementation plan of the Race Equity Framework of One Vision One Voice, a remarkable initiative through the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) that was formed in consultation with African Canadian communities across the province.
In particular, One Vision One Voice has allowed us to better understand the needs of Black children, youth and families and the challenges faced with the child welfare system. Our agency attended the Power Up! Symposium, the first gathering of its kind in Ontario that brought together the voices of Black youth involved in the Ontario child welfare system. The experiences shared by these courageous youth have better informed our services and our plans to reduce disparities of service.
Additionally, One Vision One Voice also hosted the ALL IN Symposium which gave an opportunity to send a large group of Black staff to collectively gather to share insights, experiences as Black employees in the child welfare system. The staff from The Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton who attended have been courageous to share these experiences with Senior Leadership at the agency and, as a result, the agency is forming a Black Staff Affinity Group.
There is much work to be done in addressing anti-Black racism and we welcome opportunities to work and learn within the Black community of Hamilton so that we may better serve Black children, youth and families.