Why I Give to Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada: Rebecca


As our country’s leading charity dedicated to serving families, children, and youth involved in the child welfare system, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada relies on fundraising to support our mission. Thanks to the generosity of our donor community, the Foundation funds programs and services to help improve the lives of children in care across the country.

Rebecca, a valued member of our Monthly Giving Community, exemplifies the spirit of giving that drives our cause forward. We interviewed Rebecca about why she gives, and she shares her thoughts on why she chooses to support kids in care.

Why do you donate to support children, youth, and families involved in child welfare? And why specifically do you donate to Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada?

I have been a front-line worker in the child welfare system for nearly 20 years and I believe that almost all of the families I have worked with have benefitted from funds or opportunities provided by the Foundation in one capacity or another. Whether it’s attending summer camp or being able to receive tutoring sessions or therapy sessions. From stay-in-school awards  to gymnastics classes.  The application process is quick, and the response is quick. The families who receive support through the Foundation are incredibly grateful and appreciative. And as a worker who cares deeply for families in difficult situations, it feels good to be able to alleviate some of the stress or enhance their lives in substantial ways.

What inspired you to become a monthly donor?

I started my career as a children’s service worker, supporting many teenagers who were in the permanent care and custody of the Society as Crown Wards. One of the best services for them was (and still is) the Pape Adolescent Resource Centre (PARC) where they could receive a wide range of services and supports that would assist them to becoming independent adults, without caregivers. PARC is funded entirely by the Foundation. PARC offers kids relationship groups, financial literacy groups, help applying to post-secondary school, access to computers, a kitchen, and access to workers who are knowledgeable and kind.

As a current Family Service Worker I have many times referred to the Journey to Zero program, funded by the Foundation. Through this service, families in crisis can gain immediate access to case managers who can provide intensive services by putting supports in place to avert the crisis and prevent a child from coming into care. Additionally through the Journey to Zero program, a facilitator brings together the local Children’s Aid Society, the family and their support network for a meeting to highlight the main areas of concern that could result in a child being brought into care and what specifically needs to happen and how the family can be supported in concrete ways so that the family remains together, while ensuring the child remains safe. It’s invaluable programs such as these that motivate me to donate to Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada.

Why do you believe it is important to support families, children, and youth involved in child welfare?

Families connected with child welfare services are often struggling in a variety of different ways. So many of the families we work with have had trauma of some kind in their lives, which impacts how they parent, how they navigate relationships, how they cope in life. Our primary job is to keep kids safe and the best way to do that is to address the family’s struggles. Two of the terrific programs offered through the Foundation are Caring Dads and Mothers in Mind. I have many times referred fathers to the Caring Dads program, where dads come together to hear each other’s experiences and learn with the help of a facilitator to improve their relationships and better support their children. I have also seen women benefit from the Mothers in Mind Program and even had moms ask me to attend more than once.

In your opinion, what is the most important issue impacting these populations that Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada helps tackle?

The post-pandemic news is full of stories about the housing crisis – as evidenced by overflowing shelters and lack of affordable housing – as well as the lack of support services for people suffering from mental health issues. Families are hurting. I am working with families who are unable to get spaces in the shelter system so end up living in precarious situations exacerbating the stress and chaos in the children’s lives. I am working with parents and children who have significant mental health diagnoses or symptoms and cannot get adequate therapeutic or case management support on an ongoing basis. I have turned to the Foundation many times to get a family support for things like paying for therapy or furniture, or to provide referrals to support services.

What would you say to someone who is considering donating to the Foundation to help children, youth, and families?

The parents and kids involved in child welfare are struggling and the current economic climate makes access to community support services more challenging. The Foundation is a lifeline to so many families in need. As a worker assisting these families, I can’t imagine how much harder my job would be without the support of the Foundation. I honestly believe that through the programs and financial assistance provided by the Foundation more families are able to remain together and safe.

Looking ahead, what else would you like the Foundation to do and how do you see your continued support contributing to that?

If there was some way the Foundation could pay for emergency housing when families are unable to get a shelter space. Or if families are facing eviction due to the inability to cover rent so as to prevent homelessness. Or fund housing workers to help families in need of finding rental apartments. Women and children sometimes remain in unsafe living situations with abusive men, because they are unable to find an affordable place for themselves to rent and the shelter system is over-capacity. I work with a single mom and her daughter living with family because she cannot find affordable housing. They are in a very small and cramped apartment where they are arguing and yelling constantly due to everyone’s long-standing layers and history of trauma causing major disruption to the little girl’s behaviour, emotional well-being and academic progress. This mom has been unable to find affordable housing and has been waiting months to get a shelter bed. Another area where the Foundation could be helpful would be to provide local child welfare agencies with gift cards for grocery stores to give to families when their fridges are empty and it is still 1-2 weeks before they get their child tax credit.

Join our efforts to support kids in care

If you’re passionate about making a difference in the lives of children in child welfare and want to be part of our impactful donor network, visit our website to learn more about how you can contribute.