2022 National Award Winner and Finalists: Celebrating extraordinary people who improve the lives of abused, abandoned or neglected children or youth

Lynn Factor Stand Up for Kids logo

The Lynn Factor Stand Up for Kids National Award at Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada recognizes dedication, effort, service, contribution, impact and extraordinary measures taken to improve the lives of abused, abandoned or neglected children and youth.

The Award spotlights these leaders and amplifies their stories to inspire and encourage others to social action, specifically to “Stand Up for Kids”.

Melanie Redman, 2022 winner, has dedicated her career to advocating for young people facing adversity

Melanie Redman headshotMelanie Redman is the co-founder, President and CEO of A Way Home Canada, a national charity reimagining solutions to youth homelessness through transformative policies, planning and practices. Melanie also co-leads the Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab alongside York University, which recently received the designation as a Geneva UN Charter Centre of Excellence. Her leadership and unwavering commitment to pursuing policy change has helped shine a spotlight on the voices, rights, and needs of young people experiencing and at risk of homelessness.

As the 2022 Lynn Factor Stand Up for Kids National Award winner, Melanie selected Eva’s, where A Way Home Canada was incubated, to receive a $50,000 grant.

Leaders who have made a big difference in the lives of children and youth

This year’s exceptional finalists have also made significant contributions to improve the lives of abused, abandoned or neglected children and youth.

Frank Daniels headshot

Frank Daniels (Executive Director, Sagkeeng Child and Family Services. Sagkeeng First Nation, MBx)

Frank Daniels is the Executive Director of Sagkeeng Child and Family Services, a child welfare agency that provides services to his home community of Sagkeeng First Nation. Throughout his career, he has made a difference in the lives of countless children and families. Frank honours the individual needs and journeys of the children and youth he works with. Working with Indigenous children, youth and families, he believes in the power of ceremony and is dedicated to ensuring cultural teachings and traditions are integrated in all his work. Frank strongly believes in providing immediate access to mental health services and pioneered a mental wellness unit for his agency called Biidaaziiway Gamik (‘the place that brings light’). Frank emphasizes the importance of harm reduction and prioritizes prevention services to support families to remain together.

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Jane Kovarikova (Founder & CEO, Child Welfare Political Action Committee Canada. Toronto, ON)

Jane Kovarikova is a child rights advocate. Growing up in foster care, Jane had to overcome a language barrier, poverty, and systemic discrimination. Through hard work and purpose, she is now completing her PhD at Western University. In 2017, Jane founded the Child Welfare Political Action Committee Canada, a national charity that supports youth achieve success after they leave foster care through legislative and policy change. Jane has also served as the Board Chair of Simcoe-Muskoka Family Connexions and on the Premier’s Council for Equality of Opportunity. As a political staffer at the Ontario Legislative Assembly, she was instrumental in developing legislation that is reducing youth homelessness today. Most recently, Jane was an MPP candidate in the 2022 Ontario election.

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Dr. Varda Mann-Feder (Professor, Applied Human Sciences, Concordia University. Montreal, QC)

Dr. Varda Mann-Feder has dedicated her career to supporting youth involved in, and from care. She began her journey as a child-welfare psychologist and has since become a leader in both the academic world and the child-welfare sector. She is an expert in her field and has done extensive research on youth transitioning out of care, having authored and contributed to hundreds of articles, reports and books. Dr. Mann-Feder has also played an instrumental role in the development of Quebec’s youth in care network, CARE Jeunesse, and is responsible for founding a graduate Diploma at Concordia that trains youth workers in empowering approaches to working with youth in care.

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Dr. Kim Snow (Associate Professor, School of Child and Youth Care, Toronto Metropolitan University. Toronto, ON)

Dr. Kim Snow is a recognized expert on child welfare, youth justice and mental health in Canada. With a career spanning 30 years, Dr. Snow is an Associate Professor at Toronto Metropolitan University, a partner with the Ontario Children and Youth Advocate’s Office, and a committed practitioner and researcher who tirelessly elevates the voices and experiences of children. Among her many achievements is her dedicated partnership with The Voyager Project, an award-winning initiative which aims to improve the educational outcomes for Crown wards through building peer-to-peer links, encouraging young people to pursue their dreams.

Catherine Talbott headshot

Catherine Talbott (Executive Director, Ministry of Children and Family Development, Province of British Columbia. Victoria, BC)

Catherine Talbott grew up in the child welfare system in British Columbia and has experienced first-hand the trauma and harms children and youth can face. Through incredible resilience and passion, Catherine has dedicated her career to improving the lives of thousands of children, youth and families in BC. She not only founded the province’s first full continuum of care including multi-staged housing, equine therapy, and a school program for sexually exploited youth, she also developed the Okanagan’s first 30-bed homeless shelter for women and children and BC’s first home enabling young parents to live with and have supervised access to their children. Recently, Catherine led an unprecedented cross-governmental approach which will provide a new suite of supports and service for youth transitioning to adulthood in BC, which is now being used as a model for other provinces.

Congratulations to Melanie, Frank, Jane, Varda, Kim, and Catherine!