Toronto—A new public awareness campaign calls on all Torontonians to speak up to help protect children and youth in the community from abuse and neglect. Speak Up for Kids Toronto – a collaboration between Toronto’s four Children’s Aid Societies, Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre and the Toronto Police Service has a strong central message: child abuse prevention is a shared responsibility. The campaign coincides with the launch of Child Abuse Prevention Month, which is observed across Canada in October.
“Neighbours, families and friends are often in a position to notice signs of abuse or neglect long before professionals such as teachers, child care workers or police,” said David Rivard, CEO, Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. ”We stress that all individuals with concerns about the safety of a child need not be certain that abuse is happening when they call their local Children’s Aid Society,” he added.
Troy, a spoken word poet and former youth in care, used poetry at the kick-off event in a passionate call to action for the entire community to pull together for the safety of children and youth. "There are many warning signs in the behaviour of children and youth that may indicate they are suffering abuse or neglect. Do not hesitate to make a call to your Children's Aid Society if you have concerns, they are always available to help," he said.
Speak Up For Kids Toronto includes a radio campaign which will begin broadcasting later this month on NewsTalk 1010, Virgin Radio, CHUMFM and CHUM AM.
“We cannot respond to issues on our own. We rely on the public’s help to keep our communities safe and our children protected,” said Chief Mark Saunders. “This campaign shows how all of our organizations are working together to keep our kids safe and we need the community to join us during this campaign and year-round,” he added.
Nine times out of ten, concerned calls to Children’s Aid Societies come from individuals, professionals and agencies that provide services to children and youth. However, it takes more than Children’s Aid Societies, the police and advocacy organizations to keep vulnerable children and youth safer.
In most cases, child protection agencies are able to work with families to address safety concerns, while keeping the child safely in their home. In 2013, children remained at home in 97 per cent of all child protection investigations in Ontario.
For more information:
Anne Rappé, Manager, Communications
Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto
Lindsay Jolie, Director of Communications & Community Relations
Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre
T: (416) 515-1100 Ext. 59339
C: (416) 560-7568
Information & Issues Management Section Head
Toronto Police Service
Phone: (416) 808-7095