Every February, people across Canada celebrate Black History Month to honour the legacy of Black, African, Caribbean, Canadians, past, present and future. The 2020 theme for Black History month in Canada is: “Canadian’s of African Descent: Going forward, guided by the past.”
As expressed by our CEO, “I honour the dignity and resilience of the Black community and the openness to work with us to address inequities, support families, communities and make positive progress as we look forward.”
At the Toronto Children’s Aid Society we too are celebrating the Black African Caribbean families, youth and communities we support every day. That’s why during Black History Month, we’ll be profiling the programs and practices we’ve introduced to remove bias, strengthen support networks, and improve the care for Black African Caribbean youth and their families.
We support our Black, African, Caribbean youth and their families in many different ways:
Anti-Black Racism Practice Integration Leads: As part of our efforts to identify systemic anti-Black racism in our practices and policies, we’ve established a team of Anti-Black Racism (ABR) Practice Integration Leads. This group is dedicated to creating programs that enhance and move the work of improving outcomes for Black African Caribbean youth and their families. By working with Directors and our COO they are able to support the integration of anti-Black racism interventions and analysis in services. Learn more here.
Black Educational Advisory Committee (BEAC): Made up of employees across Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, BEAC is a volunteer committee that provides perspective, knowledge, expertise and advice to the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto regarding the services it provides to the Black African Caribbean Canadian community. From hair and skin care, to understanding their history and finding mentors, the Committee is also dedicated to creating opportunities for Black African Caribbean youth to connect to their roots and to achieve the best possible outcomes in a discrimination free environment. Learn more here.
Soul Journey: Every year, up to 30 Black and Biracial youth in care travel outside of the Greater Toronto Area for a week-long trip planned by BEAC that is designed to help them discover and learn more about their community and what it means to be Black. With goals to connect youth to their roots and allow them to love the skin they’re in, the trip explores the rich Black history of cities across Jamaica, Nova Scotia, U.S. and the Caribbean.
‘Blackness is…’Celebratory Event: In honour of Black History Month 2020, on February 21, Children’s Aid Society of Toronto will be hosting an evening celebration that explores the intersectionality and diversity of the Black community. With an audience of youth in care, foster parents, staff and community partners, there will be youth awards, entertaining performances and a key note speaker who will explore ‘Blackness’ in all of its diverse forms.
‘Mentorship: The Children's Aid Society of Toronto mentorship program works with vital partners in the community, like Delta Family Services, to make sure that Black youth in care are connected with mentors who can help them discover their Black history while gaining confidence in the skin they’re in.
Children's Aid Society of Toronto looks forward to the future and working more with the Black African Caribbean community to continue to improve our services and support. CEO Paul Rosebush summarizes, ‘It is a priority for me and CAS Toronto to make positive systemic changes that result in a new future towards equitable outcomes for Black families, children and communities.”