Every child and youth has a right to safety and well being, Ann Godfrey writes
Did you know that last year Family and Children’s Services received 6,341 referrals regarding the care and safety of a child or youth in Niagara? As a result, more than 8,000 children were served to ensure their safety and well-being.
And did you also know that every person in Ontario has a duty to report their concerns regarding children in their community, according to the Child, Youth and Family Services Act? That means you, me and everyone we know; not just professionals and people who work with children.
Further, as of 2018, protection now extends to young people up to the age of 18 years, making 16 and 17-year-olds eligible for the full range of child protection services — a welcome addition for this vulnerable population.
Community members can call Family and Children’s Services or their local children’s aid society 24 hours a day and seven days a week. We are here to help, and we appreciate that this can be a tough call to make. What if I’m wrong? I don’t have proof. What if it breaks up the family?
It may comfort you to know that of the 8,000 children we see each year, only a very small percentage are ever removed from the care of their parents. In the vast majority of cases, we are working with families and community supports to help kids be safer in their own homes. And you only need to have a genuine concern to make a referral, it’s our job to assess the need for intervention.
This Friday, Oct. 19 we are joining with the Niagara IceDogs as they host their first ever Super Heroes Game in recognition of Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. We know that it takes a community to care for kids, and Niagara is a caring community.
Please join us as we salute all those heroes in the community who stand up for kids: the teacher in the classroom, the concerned neighbour, our staff, foster parents and volunteers. We are all heroes when we speak up for children and families and help them get the services they need to be happy, healthy and safe.
The IceDogs will be wearing special edition Super Heroes jerseys which will be auctioned after the game to benefit programs for children and youth served by FACS Niagara. And on Oct. 24, get your purple on as schools across Ontario Dress Purple to show their support for the cause.
Ann Godfrey is the director of development and public relations with Family and Children’s Services Niagara.
Source: Niagara This Week