Be an Ally

Getting started

If you would like to deepen your impact as an ally of young people involved with the child welfare system, we recommend starting by learning more about their experiences and about the child welfare system in general.

Below, we have compiled some key resources to help you get started on your education journey!

Review getting started.

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Edith, post-secondary graduate and former youth in care signing the Stand Up for Kids pledge at


Mentorship has been shown to play a crucial role in the well-being and success of young people living in government care. Yet this population is significantly less likely to have the support of a positive adult role model.

You can make a difference for young people in care by getting involved with a mentorship program serving children and youth involved with the child welfare system.

Here are a few options to get started:

Big Steps to Success
Big Steps to Success is a new mentorship program co-designed by Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada specifically for youth in government care. It’s currently operating in four sites across Canada.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada has more than 70 agencies across Canada and offers a variety of programs that serve young people in government care.

CHEERS is a community-based mentorship program providing support for Black youth as they transition from government care to independence.

Stepstones for Youth
Stepstones for Youth helps youth find belonging and connection in their community with people who care about and support them.

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Advocate for positive change

You can be an advocate for youth in and from care by getting informed and sharing resources, speaking up, elevating youth voices, talking with friends and family about challenges faced by youth in care and the child welfare system, and so much more.

Get started by checking out these leading advocacy groups:

Youth in Care Canada
Voicing the opinions and concerns of youth in and from care to ensure all young people receive standardized, high-quality care that meets their diverse needs.

Child Welfare League of Canada
Dedicated to promoting the safety and wellbeing of young people and their families by advocating for and promoting legislation, policy, research, programs, and services that address the underlying causes of trauma

First Nations Child & Family Caring Society
Working to ensure the safety and well-being of First Nations youth and their families through education initiatives and public policy campaigns and by providing quality resources to support communities.

We Matter
An Indigenous youth-led national organization dedicated to advocating for the rights and needs of Indigenous youth.

Review advocate for positive change.

Ontario Children’s Advancement Coalition – dedicated to ensuring young people live in safe, nurturing environments, and where they are active participants in their lives and social change

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Project Outsiders – a youth-led social organization that works towards better outcomes for youth in and from the foster care system, through advocacy and direct support

Visit website

Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks – a youth-driven, provincial non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of young people in and from care in BC

Visit website

Fostering Change – a campaign focused on improving outcomes for youth leaving government care by engaging youth in advocacy through capacity building workshops, peer network building, awareness raising and through advocacy action

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Voices: Manitoba’s Youth in Care Network – youth-driven and youth-focused organization providing support, encouragement, and advocacy to young people in and from care in Manitoba

Visit website

Saskatchewan Youth in Care and Custody Network (SYICCN) – helping to set up local networks and develop strategies that empower youth in and from the system

Visit website

Fostering and adoption

If you are interested in expanding your family, you can be an ally to children and youth in care by learning about the option to open your home as a foster or adoptive parent.

The support of a caring foster or adoptive family provides many benefits for children and youth, including a sense of safety and stability and improvements to overall health and well-being.

Learn about fostering
Visit the Canadian Foster Family Association’s website to learn about what it means to foster a child and how to get started.

Canadian Foster Family Association

Learn about adoption
For information about how to adopt in Canada, please visit:

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Learn about trauma-informed and strength-based practices

Like all young people, youth in and from care bring unique goals, skills, and strengths to the world and many make remarkable contributions to their communities as advocates, academics, professionals, and community leaders. Yet they also experience PTSD at double the rate of war veterans and have had to develop extraordinary resilience.

A trauma-informed and strengths-based approach to interacting with youth in and from care ensures they feel respected and understood and receive the accommodations they need to feel safe. It also celebrates their contributions and prevents them from being further marginalized and defined by their trauma.

This approach supports ongoing healing and ensures communities benefit from the unique strengths and lived experiences of youth in and from care.

You can make a difference for the young people we serve by learning about trauma-informed and strengths-based approaches to communicating and working with youth in and from care. This approach can be applied in any personal or professional relationship.

Learn more at the following links:

Review trauma-informed and strength-based practices.

Offer free or low cost services

When youth “age out” of the child welfare system and begin life on their own, many services may be out of reach due to high costs.

If you are a landlord, teacher, lawyer, accountant, emergency frontline worker, counselor, health and wellness practitioner, or another type of professional, you can help by offering your services at a lower cost to young people in and from care and their families. Your support could make a world of difference for young people experiencing many barriers to success and stability.

Consider advertising that you are willing to provide your services for free or at low cost to young people in and from care on your website or by word of mouth.

Review offer free or low cost services.

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Help youth connect and network with their peers

You can help young people in and from care by spreading the word about existing youth in care networks across Canada where they can connect with peers and access a wide range of supports.

Review helping youth connect and network.