Whose voices matter when we think about youth in the care of the state? It is essential to listen to young people themselves in order to improve outcomes.
The focus of my research has been educational attainment of youth in care, and how youth themselves are a resource for supporting the achievement of their peers. While studying existing research about the educational outcomes of young people in care, in 2006, I began a campus mentorship program through which more than 200 youth have since developed education action plans and several have completed degrees, diplomas or certifications.
This is in a context where systemic changes are necessary to alleviate many of the factors impacting the apprehension of children and youth, and to ensure in a climate of provincial cutbacks in Ontario that youth in care will be heard when they voice complaints.
It remains to be seen how Canada will fulfil promises to reduce child poverty and develop new child welfare legislation with Indigenous communities. APTN reports that Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, said the new legislation should mark a “turning point” that will be lifesaving.