The Bus Ride Home Project Report
At any given time, there are an estimated 600 to 900 young people with lived experience in the child welfare system in Ontario who are working for change to improve its systems and communities.
While they work to support the approximately 20,000 young people in the province’s care systems, Irwin Elman, the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, recounts a conversation with one such change maker on why we must remember their “bus ride home.”
“I was at a meeting at the Ministry (of Children and Youth Services) trying to give them advice. It felt good to contribute and I was hopeful. The meeting ended and they gave me a great deal of praise, bordering on adulation,” she said. “[Then] I left and made my way to the bus stop to go home. The feeling of high from that meeting started to fade. I caught my bus and sat there riding home, gradually returning to my real life. I made it to the room that I rented and turned on the radio. I was alone, broke and sad. I started to cry. I thought, ‘This is surreal,’” she said. “You guys have to remember our bus ride home.”
“Each in their own unique way, these young leaders are advocating for change," Elman said. "They want all children in the province to have the chance to reach their full potential, and it is remarkable how much they give to that.”
The goal of “The Bus Ride Home Report (PDF),” in partnership between the Advocate’s Office and the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and the Children’s Aid Foundation, was to enable “young child welfare change-makers with lived experience to lead child welfare change and thrive in their lives through support services, programs and resources that promote healing, connection, security and stability.” The report can be accessed in the link above.