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Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is dedicated to improving the lives of children, youth, and families experiencing child welfare.

Over the last few years, youth in Canada have experienced significant mental health challenges as they struggled with instability and isolation. Yet, for youth who are served by the child welfare system or are transitioning out of care, mental health challenges have long been a barrier to their ability to survive and thrive. The COVID-19 crisis intensified these challenges, and youth who have often experienced abuse and neglect were left even more vulnerable.

Tom Advocate headshot

Tom Advocate

Entrepreneur & Former Youth in Care

Tom, an advocate, entrepreneur, and former youth in care, experienced first-hand the devastating toll the pandemic had on a young person’s mental health. “I was diagnosed with depression a week before the lockdown started. I was living alone and had to deal with my mental health in an apartment by myself, and it was a very difficult time,” he says. 

Thankfully, Tom was able to seek support from the Pape Adolescent Resource Centre (PARC), which helped connect him with a doctor and therapist. “Their support helped ensure my safety during a very uncertain time,” says Tom. 

PARC receives funding from the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada’s Teddy Bear fund. The Fund grants $1.375 million to the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto and Native Child and Family Services of Toronto each year, enabling these organizations to respond to the immediate and urgent needs of children, youth, and families in crisis. 

“Children and youth are our future, and we need to invest in them today to build a stronger, more resilient society for generations to come,” says Shael Kalef, Chair of the Teddy Bear Fund Committee. “The fund is doing just that for our children and youth facing vulnerable circumstances.”

Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is our country’s leading charity dedicated to improving the lives of children, youth, and families impacted by child welfare.    

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