The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown all our lives and communities into an unprecedented crisis. Our community’s most vulnerable youth are particularly at risk. Thanks to the support of the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada and the Ted Rogers Foundation DCAF is providing support to youth who are aging out of care. Positive Transitions for Youth ensures that transitional support, COVID-19 Community Assistance and Mentoring for Success available for those in need. The youth, as young as 18 who have aged out of the care of the child welfare system, no longer eligible for the support they received while living in foster care or groups homes. Similarly, they have no family to turn to for support.
Special thanks to the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund and Durham Community Foundation for their support.
Mentoring for Success
DCAF with the support of the RBC Foundation provides a mentoring program for youth. Mentoring for Success is about when one-to-one mentoring is provided for youth as they transition out-of-care and/or begin their post-secondary education. During these often difficult years, youth are able to consult and visit with adult mentors who can provide encouragement and guidance. As part of Positive Transitions for Youth, DCAF facilitates the process to recruit and train up to 50 adult mentors. Mentors support youth aged 13-21 years old who are in care of Durham CAS, or who are from the Durham community.
Mentors Making A Difference
On average, Mentors connect with youth a few times each month. Mentors help to close the gap, as youth age out of care from the Child Welfare system. As a volunteer, mentors provide support at anytime throughout the day, or night. Activities enjoyed through mentorships include: hiking, virtual visits, biking, take-out dinners and one day – attendance at a special event. The goal is to build a strong bond that could last a life-time. A special family-like bond that many of the youth have never experienced in the past. By having a positive influence in the life of a youth, so many things change for the positive.
It is hoped that Mentors can volunteer from 4 -8 hours per month to support and encourage their Mentee. Mentorships are based on a two year commitment. Mentors help to connect youth with supports in the community as they become a friend, confident, role model and someone the youth can rely on. However, there is not a two-year limit on the mentorships. In the past, mentorships have led to years of interaction at events, family dinners and simply hours of conversation, support and encouragement.
As youth age out-of-care, they lose some of the built-in supports provided through the Child Welfare Program. Quite often in the journey of a child in care, limited family supports are available or are inconsistent ones. Although attempts are made to place all children in loving supportive environments, these supports are not always available to the youth beyond 18 years of age.
Permanency is a feeling of belonging and self-fulfillment; to a place, a family, a community and/or to yourself, knowing that you matter in the world despite where you have come from. Permanency is a way of a youth knowing that they have someone in their life that they can turn to in order to share or validate the life they are living. Please note, permanency doesn’t necessarily mean adoption, guardianship or custody. It could simply be that someone is always there, for the good and the bad as you go through life. This is the ultimate goal for all youth, regardless of their life struggles or family, behaviourial or medical situations. A mentorship is there to help every youth be successful.
Mentoring for Success provides the hope for youth to have a long lasting mentoring relationship that would flourish into a permanent plan for the youth, whatever that permanency looks like. Some of the youth go into adoption, independence, long-term foster care, guardianship and possibly back to their family. Youth still need a consistent person in their life to enable them to be the best person they can be.
Program Information Sessions
The next program information session is scheduled for May 19, 2021, contact Jacqueline Vieira to register.
Mentoring for Success is presented by DCAF and our community partnership with Their Opportunity. Together these organizations present, training, workshops and other activities in support of Mentors and the youth the support. For more information about becoming a mentor contact, Jacqueline Vieira, Program Coordinator , 905.433.1551, Ext. 2781. DCAF works to provide Positive Transitions for Youth.
Post-Secondary Bursary Program
Most of us had some help from family, helping us make the transition to living independently. Many youth in the care of DurhamCAS have no family to help with finding, paying for and furnishing their first apartment. While the Ontario government provides funding to cover the cost of living for children in the care of CAS. There is very little support available once children turn 18. With your assistance DCAF helps in building a future for youth, supporting independent living when necessary. Support also assists with the high costs associated with obtaining a post-secondary school education and transitioning directly to the workforce. DCAF provides financial assistance for youth moving on to independence to help purchase the necessities such as pots and pans, toiletries, and furniture.
For more information contact our Executive Director .