905.895.2318 | 1.800.718.3850
24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Thank You Kinship Service Caregivers!
Huge thanks to our 65 kinship service families for the vital role they play in the lives of the children
and youth they care for! We are proud to recognize and acknowledge these compassionate and dedicated caregivers and to raise
awareness about kinship service!
Aleem Punja Appointed Chief Operating Officer of York Region Children's Aid Society
Nancy French, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of York Region Children's Aid Society, is pleased to
announce the appointment of Aleem Punja as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of York Region Children's Aid Society, effective
September 24, 2018. Aleem will assume responsibility for all service areas, ensuring operational excellence across the agency.
As Sector Leader/Senior Manager at the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, Aleem has
led the child welfare sector on the development, implementation, and sustainment of the Child Protection Information Network
(CPIN), a $300 million joint project of the ministry and the sector. As Senior Manager of the Reconciliation and Indigenous
Services Unit, Aleem has also been responsible for implementing the child welfare sector's Reconciliation Commitments to
Indigenous children, youth, and families in Ontario.
Aleem brings over 17 years of experience working in child welfare service delivery, leading provincial
service and systems transformation, and policy and program implementation. Aleem began his career with Blue Hills Child and
Family Centre as a Family Support Worker/Group Therapist. He has worked as a Child Welfare Practitioner at Durham Children's
Aid Society and Northumberland Children's Aid Society (now Highland Shores). Aleem has also been a part-time Professor at the
School of Community and Health Studies, Child and Youth Care program at Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology. For
over six years he has worked at OACAS providing senior leadership to boards, executives and senior staff by overseeing and
advising on provincial policy, service and transformative change management projects and initiatives.
Aleem serves on the Equity Policy Advisory Committee for Toronto District School Board where he provides
strategic and operational advice on the implementation of equity policies and practices. Aleem has also served as Chairperson
for the Aga Khan Social Welfare Board for Ontario, Commissioner on the Canadian Commission on Suicides and as the Provincial
Lead for the Aga Khan Council for Canada's National Poverty Alleviation Strategy.
York Region Children's Aid Society is proud to welcome Aleem as COO in the fall.
It highlights our agency's work over the past year, including our ongoing partnership with Dnaagdawenmag
Binnoojiiyag Child and Family Services, and our work to implement the long-awaited and welcome changes in the new Child,
Youth and Family Services Act, 2017.
We are grateful for exceptional staff, resource families, volunteers, and board members who diligently
work to deliver on our agency's mission of thriving children, resilient families, and caring communities.
July 30 is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
July 30 is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. York Region Children's Aid Society is
committed to the fight to end human trafficking, a rapidly growing form of abuse often targeted at children and youth.*
Human trafficking is a deplorable violation of human rights, described as a modern form of
slavery, which is happening here in York Region and all over the world. In Canada, human trafficking takes place
largely for the purpose of sexual exploitation. In York Region, this has been known to occur in hotels, clubs, massage
parlors, escort services, and even private residences.
While anyone can be targeted, marginalized individuals are at higher risk including Indigenous
women and girls, vulnerably housed teens, and children and youth who identify as LGBTQ+.
Traffickers typically begin the grooming process around age 12 or 13, preying on vulnerable
and unsuspecting children and youth and the innate human need to belong and be connected to the love of a family.
Traffickers often play the role of attentive friend or boyfriend, promising a different and better life, an emotional
connection, and often a romantic relationship.
When human trafficking involves children and youth under the age of 18, it is a child abuse, and
a protection concern that requires our agency's involvement and action.
As part of York Region Children's Aid Society commitment to end human trafficking, we have
developed a shared protocol with the York Regional Police Human Trafficking Team to help identify and protect children
and youth. When York Regional Police find children and youth who fall under the CAS legal mandate and require child
protection, they call us for consultation. In turn, we call them when we have concerns or knowledge that a child or youth
may be trafficked or is being groomed. This partnership has allowed our agency to learn, grow, and strategize about how
to help in a more holistic way.
Additionally, we have mandatory staff and resource parent training around identifying warning
signs of human trafficking among youth. York Region Children’s Aid Society is also working with York University on a
research project with victims and survivors of human trafficking and human services providers with the goal of developing
tools and programs that will assist in better identifying at-risk youth in the early stages with the hopes of intervening
and reintegrating children and youth back to their families.
Our agency's internal cross-departmental Human Trafficking Committee strives to be a community
leader in the fight against human trafficking. The committee works to maintain, communicate, train, and evaluate the
shared Human Trafficking Protocol with York Regional Police, and to embed knowledge of human trafficking in the way we
provide service to children, youth, and families.
Please join us in the fight to end human trafficking. If you see or suspect human trafficking,
please contact the YRP Human Trafficking Team at 905-758-5581 (all calls are confidential) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lend your support on Twitter by using the United Nations hashtags: #IGiveHope #EndHumanTrafficking.
* Statistics Canada data reveals that youth under the age of 18 made up one quarter of recorded
human trafficking victims in Canada between 2009 and 2014.
Ontario Election 2018
Leading up to election day on June 7, make sure candidates are supporting Ontario's children and families. Learn how to help
Why are some families involved with child welfare? What are some of the challenges those families face?
Who's responsible for helping these families? Watch this video. The answers may surprise you.
Province increases age of protection for children to 18 years of age
On January 1, 2018, Ontario will increase the age of protection to include all children under the age
of 18 years of age. By increasing the age of protection, 16- and 17-year-olds who are in need of protection will be eligible
for the full range of child protection services, which will give them a better opportunity to get the support they need, and
have better outcomes as they transition to adulthood.
A youth may be eligible for protection services if they are experiencing physical abuse, sexual abuse,
emotional abuse, neglect and/or abandonment, or if they are at risk of any of these things. Youth who have left home because
of concerns about safety or risk of harm at home, and youth who are homeless, may be eligible for services from a children's
If you are concerned that a youth may be in need of protection, call us 24 hours a day, 7 days
a week, at 905-895-2318 (toll-free 1-800-718-3850).
A new Voluntary Youth Services Agreement will be available for youth who:
● are aged 16 or 17;
● cannot be adequately protected at home or in their current living situation;
● have no other safe options with family or friends; and
● need an out-of-home placement.
Children's aid societies and youth-serving community agencies are encouraged to work collaboratively to
develop protocols and processes to support services for 16- and 17-year old youth in need of protection.