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TORONTO, July 3, 2019 /CNW/ – Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is pleased to announce the six finalists for The Lynn Factor Stand Up for Kids National Award, which recognizes extraordinary Canadians whose efforts have improved the lives of vulnerable children.

“This award recognizes remarkable Canadians who have made a positive difference in the lives of abused and neglected children and youth,” says Valerie McMurtry, President and CEO, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada.”Our hope is that after hearing about the incredible work and dedication of our finalists, people across the country will be inspired to take action in their own communities and will stand up for at-risk kids in Canada.”

Established in 2018, the Lynn Factor Stand Up for Kids National Award winner will direct a total of $75,000 in grants from Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada to a child welfare, child rights or child- and youth-serving organization. The national award winner will be announced at Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada’s Stand Up for Kids Night presented by CIBC on September 11, 2019.

“This year’s shortlist of finalists are driving change at the local, provincial and national levels to improve the lives of children and youth living in Canada’s child welfare system,” says Donald Guloien, Chair of The Lynn Factor Stand up for Kids National Award Committee. “The committee was incredibly impressed by this dedicated group of individuals seeking meaningful change and better outcomes for children and their families.” 

The 2019 Lynn Factor Stand Up for Kids National Award finalists are:

  • Sara Austin, Founder and CEO of Children First Canada (Calgary, Alberta)
    Sara is a champion for children, with more than 20 years of experience. As Founder and CEO of Children First Canada, she leads a national movement to make Canada the best place in the world for kids to grow up. Sara has led successful advocacy, public awareness and philanthropic campaigns, including the creation of the Canadian Children’s Charter, the Kids are Not Alright and Raising Canada, addressing Canada’s high rates of child abuse and reform of the child welfare system. 

  • Melanie Doucet, Former Youth in Care, PhD Candidate and Sessional Instructor at McGill University School of Social Work (Montreal, Quebec)
    Melanie is a former youth working to improve the lives of children and youth in care for 15 years. Melanie’s research aims at recommendations to child welfare policies, programs and intervention strategies targeted to those transitioning to adulthood. Her efforts have earned her SSHRC and Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Doctorial scholarships and awards. As part of the NB Youth in Care Network she works with the Department of Social Development on child protection services policy reform. 

  • Irwin Elman, Former Ontario Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth (Toronto, Ontario)
    Irwin has dedicated 30 plus years in agencies across sectors to making change in the child welfare and residential systems of care. As the Ontario Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, he partnered with children and youth in and from foster care and the children’s services system, where he helped create an exemplary model of child advocacy. Among Irwin’s accomplishments in driving change in the quality of care, safety and accountability for children in care was his role in leading and supporting staff and youth in the creation of the Our Voice Our Turn initiative, focused on improving the outcomes for youth in and from care. This led the government to establish the Youth Leaving Care Working Group, which produced the “Blueprint for Fundamental Change to Ontario’s Child Welfare System”. 

  • Wade Johnston, Executive Director, Chisholm Services for Children (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
    Since Wade began his 33-year commitment to children in care, he has worked in advocacy roles for 400 children and youth at Chisholm as well as 1,300 children with the LINKS Literacy Program. Wade became Executive Director in 2001, leading the agency through changes that would serve more children in care and families at risk. Working with the NS Department of Community Services, he later transitioned the centre to focus on early intervention and prevention, for those 12 years of age and younger. In the past four years, children living at Chisholm have increased school attendance to 90% versus sector standard of 30% for community-based programs. 

  • Dr. Heather Modlin, Provincial Director, Key Assets Newfoundland and Labrador, (St. John’s, Newfoundland)
    Heather’s commitment to improving lives of young people in residential care spans 30 years. Within the first years of Heather’s leadership of Key Assets, she increased the number of staffed residential placements for children and youth from zero to 135. A focus for Heather is developing unique initiatives for children with complex needs. In order to support the needs of children in care outside the island portion of the province, Heather co-created a vision and lasting partnership with Indigenous communities in Labrador. She participated in the development of a unique agreement between the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Nunatsiavut Government and Key Assets to provide the critical, culturally sensitive placement options for children in-care in Labradorcommunities.
     
  • Tammy Roberts: Executive Director, Foster Family Coalition of the Northwest Territories(Yellowknife, Northwest Territories)
    Tammy has dedicated 28 years to serving kids at risk in the Northwest Territories. She has been a professional parent since 1991, providing emergency and long term care to 250 foster children and youth with mild to extreme learning and behavioural challenges and is the Executive Director, Foster Family Coalition of the Northwest Territories. Tammy advocates for services and facilitates training for foster/ adoptive families and social workers. She is spearheading a FASD Resource Centre, focused on a pilot project to serve the needs of youth who have been prenatally exposed to alcohol and are transitioning out of the foster care system or have recently aged out of care.

More information about the 2019 finalists is available at: https://www.cafdn.org/stand-up-for-kids/stand-up-for-kids-national-award/

The 2019 finalists were selected by the Lynn Factor Stand Up for Kids National Award Committee, a group of community and business leaders recognized for their passion and dedication to making a difference in the lives of kids in the child welfare system. The committee members are: 

  • Chair Donald Guloien, immediate past President and CEO of Manulife and former board member and long-time volunteer for Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada;
  • Lynn Belzberg, social worker and Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada Board Member;
  • Dylan Cohen, Youth Organizer, BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition;
  • Phillip Crawley , Publisher and CEO ,The Globe and Mail;
  • Dr. Barbara Fallon, Professor; Canada Research Chair in Child Welfare; Associate Dean, Research; Ph.D., University of Toronto;
  • Anna Amy Ho, Program Coordinator and Crisis Counsellor, Victim Services Toronto;
  • The Right Honourable David Johnston, P.C., C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.; former Governor General of Canada;
  • The Honourable Peter MacKay, P.C., Q.C., ; partner at Baker McKenzie;
  • Susan McIsaac, Chief Philanthropy Officer, Right to Play International;
  • Paul Rosebush, CEO, Children’s Aid Society of Toronto;
  • Rob Sedran, Managing Director, Capital Markets, CIBC

Established in 2018, the award is named in honour of Lynn Factor, C.M., O.Ont, MSW, a long-standing Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada volunteer and past Board Chair, who as a social worker by profession has served for over 35 years on the frontlines of child welfare and has seen the damaging impact on children living under the weight of abuse, neglect and trauma. In recognition of Lynn Factor’s extraordinary commitment to Canada’s most vulnerable children, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada and Lynn’s husband, Sheldon Inwentash, named the Stand Up for Kids National Award in her honour.

The Lynn Factor Stand Up for Kids National Award is part of Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada’s Stand Up for Kids national campaign for child welfare, which is mobilizing Canadians who want to help change the future for Canada’smost at-risk children and youth.

About Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada
Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is our country’s leading charity dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth growing up in the child welfare system. We raise and grant funds, and deliver a wide range of high-impact programs and services in partnership with 74 child-and youth-serving agency partners that support more than 22,200 vulnerable young people and 3,500 families annually. Stand Up for Kids is our national campaign for child welfare, which aims to change the futures of Canada’s most at-risk kids – those who have experienced abuse and neglect. We know that by helping these young people to overcome their trauma and break the cycle for future generations, they gain the strength and resilience to create a lifetime of their own unstoppable successes.