FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 23, 2019
Brant Family and Children’s Services, MPP Will Bouma and Parliamentary Assistant Jeremy Roberts Hold Adoption Roundtable
BRANTFORD – Monday October 21st, MPP Will Bouma hosted Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Jeremy Roberts for a roundtable discussion on customary care and the adoption system in Ontario.
This was the first roundtable that we hosted and it was an honest, emotional discussion about the unique challenges faced by individuals that step forward to provide stable homes to vulnerable youth,” Roberts said.
Topics discussed at the roundtable included the importance of support networks and resources for customary care providers and adoptive parents, the importance of kinship care within the Six Nations, as well as the perspective of children awaiting adoption.
“It was a moving experience to hear first-hand from adoptive families and their struggles in particular”, said Will Bouma, MPP for Brantford-Brant. “Also to hear the perspective from the lens of a child that is in ‘the system’ was also incredibly powerful for me personally and reinforced the notion that all decisions we make have to be child-centric”, continued MPP Bouma.
“The meeting was a profound and inspiring experience”, said Dr. Bernadette Gallagher, Executive Director of Brant Family and Children’s Services. “It was clear that everyone who attended the gathering valued placing children at the center of the conversation. The meeting started with the voices of children through their journey of foster care and adoption. A brief video was shown whereby the audience does not see but rather hears children read statements of what is important to them in their life journey”, Dr. Gallagher continued. “This was a remarkable way to remind all of us why we were there in the first place”.
Representatives at the roundtable included: First Nations communities of Mississaugas of the Credit and Six Nations of the Grand River; Family Counselling, Adopt4Life; representatives from the City of Brantford and the County of Brant; Adoptive Families, and staff from Brant Family and Children Services came together to advocate for services that support both the simultaneous processes of grief and celebration in adoption.
The majority of adoptions in Ontario take place through the public adoption system, which consists mainly of children in the permanent care of a children’s aid society.
In 2018-19 there were 4,622 children and youth in the permanent care of children’s aid societies in Ontario who were eligible for adoption. Only around 800 were adopted.
“We can do better. All children deserve a loving family and a permanent home”, concluded MPP Bouma.
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