Hope for Children Fund opens door to education for former youth in care

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 (Toronto, ON) – Janelle Younge, a former Catholic Children’s Aid Society (CCAS) Crown Ward, didn’t know how she would pursue dreams of a post-secondary education. The financial burden appeared daunting. 

“The cost of post-secondary education puts youth in care in a vulnerable positon. Sometimes it means they have to decide whether they will spend money on food or school tuition,” says Younge.

Youth who leave care at the age of 18, as required by provincial legislation, often have to choose between attending post-secondary education or putting food on the table and paying their rent. The Hope for Children (HFC) scholarships help ease the financial burden and combined pressures of independent living and post-secondary studies.

With the rising cost of education, more than 80 per cent of university students receive financial support from their parents to manage.  Today, it costs close to $21,000 for one year of university education including tuition, books, food and accommodations.  Without parents to support them, youth in care struggle to afford the opportunity.

CCAS’s Hope for Children Fund Scholarship Program is helping remove financial barriers for 90 current and former youth in care by providing scholarship and graduation grants valued at more than $140,000.

“Since the program’s inception, HFC has awarded more than $3 million in scholarships and special achievement grants supporting nearly 2,500 youth in care and former youth in care,” says Janice Robinson, Executive Director, CCAS. “We believe education opens doors and creates opportunities. For our youth it is the best way to transition out of care and begin to make their way in the world,” says Robinson.

For Younge, the recipient of multiple HFC scholarships, the funds have made a world of difference. A recent graduate with a Master’s Degree in Social Work, Younge is putting her education to use by helping other youth transition out of care. She is also a full-time mom to her daughter, niece and two youth she fosters.

On Tuesday, August 22, Younge and 89 other young people will receive their scholarships at a special event at the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon.  

“Janelle is just one of our success stories that beautifully illustrate the power of opportunity,” says Hope for Children Fund Manager, Kara Spedding. “We are forever grateful to the donors that give generously to ensure our Crown Wards are given the gift of education.”