As the President and CEO of Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, I am delighted by the Ontario government’s investment of $68 million in the new Ready, Set, Go program. This program is an essential step towards improving the lives of young people involved in the child welfare system. We are proud to work alongside first-voice advocates from Ontario’s Children Advancement Coalition and Youth in Care Canada to contribute to this program’s development and to see it come to fruition.
The Ready, Set, Go program is a comprehensive initiative that will provide essential supports for youth transitioning out of care. We believe that this program will help prepare young people in government care for success in their adult lives, whether through post-secondary education, skilled trades training, or employment opportunities.
We applaud the Ontario government’s commitment to providing practical life skills and planning educational goals for children as young as 13 years old, and their emphasis on financial literacy and preparing for the workforce starting at age 15. We know that these are essential skills that will provide a strong foundation for youth as they enter adulthood.
Moreover, the expansion of financial support for youth transitioning out of care, along with the opportunity to work without affecting their financial support, will provide more significant opportunities for youth to focus on their studies or career goals, leading to better outcomes for them and their communities.
At Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, we remain committed to improving the lives of children, youth, and families involved in the child welfare system across Canada. We hope that all provinces and territories will follow suit and make similar investments in supporting the children and youth in government care. We are also working with stakeholders across the country to advocate for similar programs and initiatives. Along with our donors and allies, the Foundation will continue to work with provincial and territorial governments and our partners across Canada to identify ways to further enhance the support provided to children, youth, and families in need. Together, we can create a better future for children, youth and families involved in the child welfare system.
We are grateful for the many experts with lived experiences, who bravely shared their insights in the hopes of providing better outcomes for current children and youth in government care. Our work would not be possible without their leadership.
Valerie McMurtry, CFRE
President and CEO, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada