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We’ve spent months apart from families and friends…and probably all mastered the art of social distancing! I felt the impact of the pandemic the hardest during this past Holiday Season. Not being able to travel overseas or even two miles across town to spend time with my loved ones was a disappointment. However, I understand that this is all in the best interest of keeping everyone safe, and healthy. 

As a mom of three, and former Crown Ward, I often wonder how current children and youth in care are doing. Especially those who transitioned out of the child welfare system in the past year. How are they coping to life in a pandemic? The path to independence is challenging enough; now add on the evolving Covid-19 crisis.

Youth in transition from foster care often lack critical support networks and healthy relationships that are an important stepping-stone to independence. Looking back, its not until I aged out of care that I then realized that I was one of the few lucky ones to have found some form of permanency. My living environment and atmosphere was not built on a “Me” and them, but on  “Us”.

My foster mom – a young black woman, was able to have open and honest communication with us, and we were all included in discussions without been concerned of the repercussions. I was then able to develop trust, work on my self-esteem, learn how to control my emotions, remain in school, and make and keep the right friends. I celebrated my 18th birthday comfortably, without the need, or urgency to pack my bags. I remained at the place I called home, with a family that saw me as one of their own.  

Youth preparing to transition to independent living need support and guidance to help them be successful. They also need a strong connection with a supportive adult or family that is able to help nourish their social development, mental health, and physical and emotional well-being. The connections to community that youth develop are just as important as the resources they learn to access as part of sustainable social capital.

Speaking from experience, having a close support system was priceless, as I navigated the early stages of adulthood. No youth should struggle to find a community that reflects and supports their unique needs, and challenges!
Written by Kemesha (Clayton) Alli

Kemesha is a mom of three, wife, and entrepreneur. She is the Founder/CEO of Patches 360 Inc. A Social Enterprise non-for-profit - dedicated to providing independent communication consulting and social services to ­and for Children and Youth.


Interested in finding out what it means to become a parent to a young person who has aged out of care without a family to rely on? Never Too Late for a Family (NTL) is a program in partnership with The Adoption Council of Ontario, which has as it’s mandate to promote and facilitate permanency for young people who have exited the Child Welfare system without. NTL aims to give back to youth the opportunity to have people in their lives who can provide support, guidance, and most importantly a sense of belonging. People who can provide an enduring and unconditional safe place to continue the work of growing up and navigating the emotional and social challenges young adulthood brings for all which are compounded by the challenges of having grown up in the child welfare system.

If you want to find out more you can.... 
  1. Go to and watch the free Importance of Permanency webinar
  2. Register for our mini orientation happening virtually on Saturday March 6, 10am-noon.
Watching both of these webinars is a pre-requisite to attend our Training for Humans series, which begins Saturday April 3 (mornings) and continues for 8 weeks—space is limited. Contact us for more information.

Reply to this email or contact us at
We're proud to have Never Too Late team members participating in the CHEERS Village Gathering Panel Discussion on "The Importance of Adoption/ Permanency"

This event is free, all are welcome, come and invite a friend to hang out with us and your fellow #Cheersfam members. It promises to be informative and a great time!

📅 Sunday, February 28, 2021 from 1PM - 3PM

Uber Eats gift cards will be provided on attendance!🥙🍔

How do I talk to extended family/friends about our choice to be an NTL parent/human?

This is a question we get asked a lot, and the good news is there's a lot of experience within the NTL community around helping important people in your life understand what being a 'human' is and what this special connection with a youth is about. 

We begin to talk about this at the very beginning of someone's involvement with Never Too Late, in our eight-week training program. We explore the fact that this is likely a new concept for many people, and that people may start from a place of not understanding why an older youth may desire or need this connection in their lives. Many people have lots of questions. We also talk through how to explain what being a human is and isn't, because we aren't a mentorship or Big Brother/Big Sister type program, we are much more focused on permanency, lasting connection and being the support and family type relationship that all youth deserve. 

In addition, we run events that potential 'humans' are welcome to invite their family, friends and support people to. We run these through the NTL program and the wider ACO community has events for family and friends too. This helps people understand the needs, what the relationships and connections are about, and how they can support you. Because we all need support. For many humans this is a big step, one that they've imagined for many years, so having their people there to walk alongside them and understand, is important.

Finally, we have a newly evolving buddy system and extensive supportive groups and community events where we talk about how people have helped family and friends to understand this special new role and person in their life, from writing a 'round robin' letter to everyone, to having a family meeting, there's many unique ways that people have chosen to update people in their lives about this very special new connection, it's importance and how they are moving forward together as a family. 

No matter what stage you are at, we are here to support you! 


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 which means 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 tip of the month:

This month’s tip was picked up from a training with Karen Moore, an adoption professional and mom of 4 who built her family through adoption. Her excellent suggestion was that your everyday passwords give you an opportunity to re-enforce key messages around why it is so important we give our young people lasting permanency, even when it feels tough to do.  Try Unconditional1! Or Qtip123. Mine this month is Breathe#1. (Oops now I have to go change it don’t I).

Every time you log in somewhere you will have that reminder of those key concepts.
Thanks Karen!

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 and follow us on Instagram @nevertoolate.on.
Copyright © 2021 Never Too Late for a Family/ACO, All rights reserved.

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