TORONTO, May 13, 2013 /CNW/ - When adopted, Bill 53 will designate May 14 as Children and Youth in Care Day. The bill is at the Committee stage of the Ontario Legislature, delayed when the House prorogued. However, youth and children advocates can't wait for the legislation to pass.
OPSEU is calling on the public to celebrate our achievements on this day and continue to raise awareness about children and youth in care.
"We need to reduce the stigma around children and youth in care and celebrate their strength, bravery and resilience. I marvel at some of the young people I meet who have overcome tremendous adversities to lead meaningful lives," said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of OPSEU.
"I know that OPSEU Children's AID Society members are extremely proud to work with children and youth in care and provide the support necessary for them to reach their full potential."
Last year, in response to "My REAL Life Book," written with input from youth in care and from care, a private members' bill was introduced into the legislature to designate May 14 each year as Children and Youth in Care Day.
OPSEU joins the Ontario Association of CAS (OACAS), the office of the provincial advocate and others to mark this day, May 14 on behalf of all children and youth in care.
OPSEU also supports the following youth advocacy priorities identified by the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS):
- Let Children's Aid youth stay at home until they complete their education or training (or until age 21);
- Supports housing, education, health and dental care to be extended until the age of 25 (in line with other Canadian standards);
- Raise the age of protection from 16 to 18. As it stands, if a new case of possible abuse or neglect comes to the attention of Children's Aid and the youth is aged 16 or older, the agency is powerless to act;
- Help youth leave care with meaningful adult relationships and somewhere to "come home to." Permanency and stability are essential as youth grow up in care and transition to adulthood;
OPSEU calls on the Ontario government to speed up the process and pass Bill 53 immediately. We join others in declaring and celebrating May 14 as Children and Youth in Care Day
SOURCE: Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
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