TORONTO, ON–The Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CCAS) marks a milestone this year as it celebrates 125 years of providing social services that protect children and youth and strengthen families. Originally called the Saint Vincent de Paul Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, the Society began its operations on October 22, 1894 under the patronage of John Walsh, Archbishop of Toronto.
“We firmly believe that all persons associated with our agency, especially children, youth, families, communities, staff, caregivers and volunteers, are ensured their human rights and freedoms, and are free from all forms of racism, inequity and oppression,” said Mark Kartusch, CCAS Executive Director. “This is the legacy I want our agency to make. So that in another 125 years we can look back and say we did it; we ensured that all are welcome at the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.”
For more than 125 years, CCAS has been protecting children and strengthening families through services that are professional, responsive, child-centred, and family-focused. CCAS strives to be an organization that is inclusive and equitable for everyone.
CCAS is proud to deliver service priorities that are founded on four distinct areas: Anti-Racist, Anti-Oppressive Practice (ARAO); Trauma Informed Practice; Catholic Identity and Evidence-Informed Practice (EIP). This framework helps guide the interventions and work we do with children, youth and families – ensuring that they are a vital part of the decision-making process.
To commemorate CCAS’s 125th anniversary, His Eminence Cardinal Thomas Collins from the Archdiocese of Toronto officially blessed CCAS’s new office at 2206 Eglinton Ave. E, with prayers and readings from the Bible.
While the Cardinal and the Priests blessed each floor, the fifth-grade class from St. Maria Goretti Catholic School serenaded the Chapel and hallways with blessing songs.
Once the official blessing was completed, the formal presentations kicked off with a land acknowledgement to recognize the Indigenous peoples who were the original inhabitants of the land on which we stand.
The event proceeded with speeches by the Honourable Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues and various others, including a former youth in care, Janelle Younge, who shared her story of how CCAS helped her achieve her goals and aspirations.
Approximately 180 guests attended this event, comprised of CCAS retirees and current employees, representatives from other Children’s Aid Societies and community partner agencies, and Priests from Catholic Parishes.
“I want to congratulate Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto on 125 years of helping children and youth in care,” said Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues. “These children and youth deserve the best support we can provide, and we need partners like CCAS to give them the tools to succeed.”
The event ended with an official ribbon cutting ceremony to officially mark the agency’s move to a new building and a new area of the city. CCAS had previously been in four buildings across Toronto and is now housed in one building at 2206 Eglinton Ave. E.
About Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto:
We are provincially funded by the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. We provide child protection services 7 days a week, 24 hours a day under the legal framework of the Child and Family Services Act of Ontario. We work with community partners throughout Toronto to support children and families.