Youth in Care Canada is a national, charitable organization driven by youth and alumni from child welfare authorities across Canada. YICC exists to voice the opinions and concerns of youth in and from care.
Since 1985 we have engaged young people in and from care, and those who work with them, in research, policy development, and the training of caregivers and child welfare professionals; we have assisted in and supported the development of provincial and community-level youth in care networks across Canada; and we have helped to further the national and international youth in care networking movement.
YICC membership consists of youth in government care, youth transitioning out of care, and alumni from care, as well as organizations and allies that support youth in Canada and that play a role in child advocacy.
The seven founding members of Youth in Care Canada were Lisa H., Carleen J., Caroline M., Twila M., Alix R., Troy R., and John T. These young people from across Canada were living in government care when they met at an international child welfare conference in Vancouver, British Columbia in November 1985 and proposed the establishment of a national network for youth in care. In its early days, the Youth in Care Canada was called the Youth to You Network and was a project of the Canadian Child Welfare Association. Youth in Care Canada was officially incorporated as an independent non-profit organization (as The National Youth in Care Network) on December 4, 1990.
Any interested individuals and organizations may become members of Youth in Care Canada, but only those members from the child welfare system between the ages of 14 and 24 have voting privileges. The organization is governed by a board of directors, at least one third of whom are young alumni in or from child welfare care and between the ages of 18 and 24, and the remainder being alumni from care over the age of 24.
Youth in Care Canada provides training and support to individuals wanting to establish and develop local youth in care networks.To date, the organization has assisted in the development of over 70 provincial and community-level youth in care networks in Canada. Youth in Care Canada administers the Ken Dryden Scholarship which assists youth who are currently or formerly in the care of the Canadian child welfare system to complete an undergraduate university degree.The organization also provides social service programming in the areas of networking, advocacy, and sensitivity training.
Research & Advocacy
Youth in Care Canada publicizes national standards for child welfare care and reviews Canada’s progress in meeting these standards.The organization promotes awareness of the needs of children and youth in and from care by conducting participatory action research and producing publications. Youth in Care Canada advises on public policy, provides consultation to child welfare professionals, and advocates on specific issues important to youth in care such as education, the use of pharmaceutical drugs in the system, transition into adulthood, and family violence. Using multimedia storytelling, YouTube videos, public presentations, and printed publications, the Youth in Care Canada endeavours to inform government and the public on the experience of living in the child welfare system and transitioning to adulthood.