A Globe and Mail opinion piece talks about the importance of compiling data on foster youth, based on the experiences of black youth in care in Ontario.
Not enough snacks, not enough privacy, not enough allowance: Many of the complaints shared by the teenagers at the Power Up conference in Mississauga were common, even timeless.
But other concerns voiced by many of the 130 attendees, all black and all current or former Ontario foster youth, were less universal.
Some spoke about not being invited out to restaurant dinners with their foster families, or not being trusted with a house key. One 19-year-old young man started crying at the microphone. He had bumped into his sister at the conference, but they’ve been in different foster homes for so long that he didn’t recognize her.
After the formal workshops and panel discussions, kids hugged, took selfies and made plans to hang out again. “This cannot end here,” one girl declared loudly. It was a sweet, important gathering and it wouldn’t have happened without race-based data.
“The issue of the African-Canadian community and how it experiences child welfare is something that the community has been speaking to for decades,” said Kike Ojo, the program manager for One Vision, One Voice, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of black youth in foster care.