Interim Senior Communications Advisor
Contact: Rob Thompson,
Children’s Aid Society of Toronto
Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto
Jewish Family and Child Services
(TORONTO, ON) – Toronto’s Children’s Aid Societies report that many of the two hundred plush stuffed teddy bears, cats and puppies they located in public areas throughout downtown Toronto and across the city are missing.
The stuffed toys are part of a new Child Abuse Prevention Campaign that challenges Torontonians to take notice and show how much they care about child abuse prevention by texting the word CARE to 82442, or calling 416-960-2327, to have a toy donated to a child in need.
Children’s Aid Societies are appealing to members of the public to leave the stuffed toys where they are for others to find and for people to return the missing toys.
“This campaign acts a visible reminder that we all have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure the safety of children by reporting suspected and known signs of abuse to your local Children’s Aid Society,” said Mary A. McConville, Executive Director, Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. “Without all the stuffed animals being out in the public and visible, the campaign’s ability to create the awareness desired is greatly diminished”, McConville added.
The Show You Care, Toronto campaign, launched by Toronto’s four Children’s Aid Societies, marked the start of October’s Child Abuse Prevention Month. The campaign is about raising public awareness about how to report child abuse to local Children’s Aid Societies. The campaign runs from September 30th to October 7th.
“More than 300 people texted or called, reporting that they had seen one of the stuffed animals and would like to have a toy donated to a child in need,” said David Rivard, Chief Executive Officer, Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. “After that we noticed a sharp drop in messages, directly related to the stuffed toys going missing,” he added.
Over the past year, the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Jewish Family and Child Services, and Native Child and Family Service of Toronto have investigated more than 10,000 cases of suspected child abuse or neglect, and provided care for more than 40,000 children.