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NEVER TOO LATE
JULY NEWSLETTER



“We all deserve to feel safe and protected by our communities. Being a lesbian didn’t change who I was at the core. Loving who I want honestly is a freedom I don’t take for granted. ”

-Anon  

WHAT PRIDE MEANS TO ME 

People have asked what Pride is all about. It is about celebrating and embracing your identity. It’s about learning that there are people in your world who accept and understand you. And especially for someone like me who grew up in care, there are already so many challenges and losses. Often there is no guidance or support.

Pride is a time, a place, a celebration, and people that give both guidance and support. 

Coming out while I was in care was the hardest thing I’ve done, but not because I was afraid. It was the turns my life took as a result that I had no control over. I was forced into independence – unprepared and unsupported – after disclosing my feelings towards women. Like most youth in care I wanted to escape the system, so being independent was always my ultimate goal. But not like this, without the things any young person needs to succeed. Now I had no choice but to try to become an instant adult. 

I look back on the time when I first left care. Life was scary. I was unsure of how to be an adult. I had these responsibilities and pressure from my worker, but the mental capacity was not there as I was really still very young. I was forced to live an “adult life” without the skills and support all young people need as they slowly grow towards that life, taking on responsibilities slowly. 

I was a high school dropout, without a job and struggling with my mental health. The biggest change I was going through was trying to navigate a lesbian relationship without being able to share my experience. I had only known one other person who came out and all I will say is it wasn’t easy for them and I never heard from them again. Along with that, I was still aware of my mother’s religious beliefs and I knew that neither she nor my friends would understand. So, I went on navigating this on my own. 

I eventually moved on from my first relationship and began to explore a different life. I returned to school at 25 and got my high school diploma. Against all odds, I then was accepted into York University. I am fortunate to have survived my experiences as a child in the child welfare system, but the battle to overcome the effects of my trauma continues and may continue for years to come.

It has been proven that entering and growing up in the child welfare system results in layers of trauma for children. For LGBTQ+ children and youth, that trauma should not be multiplied for simply being who you are, loving who you love.

Children, youth, young adults and adults should all be allies to one another. Pride month has always been a reminder that we are all human with the same wants and needs. We all want to be loved and accepted. We all deserve to feel safe and protected by our communities. Being a lesbian didn’t change who I was at the core. Loving who I want honestly is a freedom I don’t take for granted. Be intentional about making your space, your home, your agency, and your heart a safe space. If you know someone is struggling, reach out to them and let them know you care and are there for them.

Sometimes, all you need to do is BE THERE JUDGMENT FREE!

- Anon

Serving LGBT2SQ Children and Youth in the Child Welfare System: 
A Resource Guide 

The guide provides information and practical tools on how to support LGBT2SQ children and youth involved with the child welfare system and how to create child welfare services that are responsive to their needs. It recognizes that societies and residential service providers are at different stages in their work to better support LGBT2SQ children and youth, and have varied resources and strategies to do this.

The guide can help those who are just beginning to develop policies and practices, and others that are looking to expand or enhance their current efforts.
DOWNLOAD GUIDE
On Sunday, June 7th, CBC show Fresh Air with Nana aba Duncan featured NTL team member, Chana Weiss, with her family who she connected with just before turning 18.
LISTEN TO THE SEGMENT

Proposal To Fundamentally Change The Trajectory Of Youth Leaving "Care" 

Never Too Late and the Adoption Council of Ontario have signed to endorse a letter to the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services on creating a readiness-based system for young people leaving care. The letter was written and sent by the Ontario Children’s Advancement Coalition and Youth In Care Canada.

"The current system does not reflect the unique differential responses that each young person requires to gauge their readiness to leave that system. Not every young person has the skills, and readiness capacities to enter into independence on their 18th birthday. “Milestones” has long been the terminology utilized by many systems as a growth indicator, however this only pushes the fundamental problem down the road, and passes it to other systems, thereby financially burdening and overcrowding them (prison systems, homelessness, poverty, health and mental health systems, etc.)."

The initiative was covered by the Toronto Star, read the article.  
READ/SIGN THE LETTER

#14Stories Podcast Update

In honour of Youth in Care Day (May 14th) NTL produced a podcast series that featured the stories/voices of youth in and from care as they navigated the pandemic—14 individual short episodes and one full length episode. It has now been listened to hundreds of times by people from across the world. It is now available on Apple podcast to listen to!  

UPCOMING EVENTS

Due to the overwhelming demand for the ACO's “Importance of Permanency” webinar we have added a second date.

This 90-minute webinar is a first look at what we know about what it means to be “in care” and why it is important for all children and youth to find permanency in order to thrive. Although the focus is on children and youth of all ages, we are using it as part of our introduction for those looking to do an NTL orientation.

Register early as spots fill up fast!
Monday, August 17th, 2020 | 7:30PM - 8:30PM | Online Webinar
REGISTER NOW
In addition to the "Importance of Permanency" webinar, ACO is continuing to offer ALL their webinars for free through the summer. While not specific to permanency for older youth/young adults they are full of important information and learning, including webinars on “Identity and Belonging” and “Grief and Loss”. Browse ACO Events.

COMING SOON

The next piece to the orientation will be NTL specific and will be offered in September also through a virtual format (90 minute session). 

Registration for our virtual eight-week “Training for Humans” in October and November will open soon. This eight-week program is only open to those who have completed an NTL Orientation (in-person or online). Stay tuned for details in our end of summer newsletter.  

Does becoming a Human mean that a young person will be living with me?

NTL families come in all shapes and sizes! There is no one model of permanency that our families follow—each situation is tailored to the individual participants and youth-led. Whether the young person is living with you or not (currently) might influence the ways you will work on building the bond (it is often easier to establish a relationship if you are living together) but at the heart, it is about providing a young person with a sense of unconditional commitment and support. Some young people may not want to live with you but they still need people to rely on and a place to belong, and for some young people finding safe and stable housing with a family is an important part of their permanency journey.

SUBMIT A QUESTION

One of the great suggestions for our newsletter from our Never Too Late community is that we share a tip each month. A tip can include a strategy, or reminder, that is particularly helpful when providing permanency to a foster care alumni. It's a reminder to communicate with trauma awareness, to remember that life trajectories and needs are different and unique when you've experienced disrupted attachments, multiple traumas and loss. And as humans to youth it is our responsibility to try differently and shift our expectations in order to better meet the needs of our youth. 

If you have a tip to share we'd love to hear it. Please feel free to share it here

NTL Youth tip of the month:
Whenever possible, try to be available to your young person during 'emergencies'. These moments are really important to some of us and it can be a great time for bonding. I'm lucky that my human was there for me during a time like this not long ago  

SUBMIT A TIP
Please forward this newsletter to anyone who might be interested in finding out more about the movement to promote permanency for all children and youth in and from care. 

Looking for more information on the Never Too Late Program? 
Visit us at adoption.on.ca/ntl and follow us on Instagram @nevertoolate.on.
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