(TORONTO, ON) – October is Child Abuse Prevention month, a time to raise awareness about the duty to report and steps that can be taken to keep children safe from abuse and neglect.
As this year’s Child Abuse Prevention Month comes to a close, the annual Stand Up for Kids Awards took place today at Queen’s Park.
Presented by Toronto’s four Children’s Aid Societies, Jewish Family and Child, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto, the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto and the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, the awards recognize and honour individuals from the community who have stood up against child abuse.
This year, awards were presented to two prominent members of our community:
Lisa Felton, Teacher, Dixon Grove Junior Middle School, has taken a very active role in her career as a teacher to foster positive, healthy and caring relationships with her students. She created a supportive and safe relationship for a young Grade 8 student who was a victim of extensive sexual abuse. As the situation was not improving, Ms. Felton was approached by child welfare workers about becoming a caregiver for the girl. She is now the primary caregiver of the young girl who lives in her home. Ms. Felton went beyond the regular call of duty, taking numerous steps to ensure the girl has a supportive network along with a safe place to call home.
William (Bill) Blair, Chief of Police, Toronto Police Service, has been a loyal advocate for the rights of children for many years. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto and Covenant House, and most recently was one of the founding supporters of Toronto’s first Child and Youth Advocacy Centre. Chief Blair was instrumental in advocating for the Centre’s creation and eventual launch. He is regarded as a significant leader and child advocate helping to keep children and youth safe and to make sure necessary services exist for vulnerable children and youth.
"Chief Blair and Ms. Felton are both extremely deserving recipients of the Stand Up for Kids Award. Their actions, commitment and desire to ensure that all children are given the best opportunity for safe and productive lives are outstanding. Each has demonstrated their willingness to champion causes or take steps that have had a positive effect on the lives of children in our community,” said David Rivard, Chief Executive Officer, Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.
“Protecting children and youth from abuse and harm is the responsibility of the entire community,” said Mary McConville, Executive Director of the Catholic Children’s Aid Society. “Both of these individuals are outstanding examples of leaders in the community who have gone above and beyond their regular call of duty to guarantee that our children and youth are safe and free from abuse and emotional harm.”
Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children and Youth Services, was present to congratulate the award winners and thank them for their dedication to children and youth.
Over the past year, there have been more than 11,000 inquiries related to child welfare investigated by Toronto’s four Children’s Aid Societies.
For more information, please contact:
Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto
The Stand Up for Kids Award celebrates local heroes who have not only taken direct and positive action to protect children from abuse and neglect, but also whose work has significantly contributed to child welfare’s ability to keep children safe and families strong. Children who are victims of abuse and neglect are counting on all of us to be aware and take action.