they are on their own – in some provinces it’s age 16. Agencies caring for children are overworked and lack adequate resources. The differing definitions and policies make it difficult o paint an accurate picture, let alone provide a foundation for a fruitful search for solution. That the number of
children waiting continues to increase should shock us.
The welfare of children is critical to the health of a
Our constitution divides responsibility between the
federal government and the provinces. It also provides for
federal involvement in issues of national concern. The last
thing we need is another layer of bureaucracy, but we do
need a national conversation, a fresh vision and renewed
commitment for how we care for children, particularly
those becoming lost in the current systems. We need to
explore all possibilities.
The Senate has been calling for a National Children’s
Commissioner for some time. Members of adoptive families, charitable and voluntary associations, public and
private agencies and churches have much to offer and
should be integral to the strategizing, with a priority given
to the voices of children aging in the system. The dignity
and welfare of children should be paramount.
Too often in our society children are seen through a
reductionist lens, pejoratively labeled, treated as objects
or as problems to be fixed or funded. Not much is left
to see them as they are: growing persons full of dreams,
hopes and possibilities that often defy adult expectations,
medical probing, predictions or parenting and educational
management techniques. All children are “just kids,” and
they are also much more than that.
Renewing a vision for children in care requires the
cultivation of a fresh perspective, much wisdom and a
collaborative spirit necessary to sustain the long and hard
work of social reform.
As Christians we have a worldview that promotes renewal and Scriptures that leave us no excuse but to act.
This noble task will take time, but what should not wait
are the children waiting for a forever mom and dad. If
there is to be any waiting list, let it be an overabundance
of families approved and waiting to provide a home.
Let’s dare to dream this way. The children waiting are
dreaming too. Ft
A wake-up call: caring
for canada’s children
It is – or should be – a national concern.
How well is Canada caring for its children? This November, a House of Commons committee will begin hearings on adoption in Canada. Let’s hope
this dialogue will contribute to the growing realization that
Canada needs a national vision and standards of care for
children who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in need of government care.
Canada has an estimated 30,000 children waiting to
come home through the process of adoption, children
with no permanent homes in sight – this is unacceptable. While assessments may vary in different parts of
Canada, we all can agree that no child should have their
childhood unfold without a home or parent(s) to call
The recent Ontario report Ninety Deaths: Ninety
Voices Silenced should have sparked outrage. Recent
calls by various provincial commissioners for an overhaul of their systems should have stimulated debate and
Yet, as children get older while waiting in the system,
there is little momentum towards a common standard of
care for services within any given province, let alone nationally. When thousands reach age 18 still hoping for a
mom and dad, we all need to sit up and take notice. We
can no longer turn a deaf ear to their cries.
There are signs that the tide is turning. Bridges are being established between churches and public agencies.
In new and exciting ways, congregations are connecting
at the local level which is where the children are. Yet
there is still much to be done.
Each province currently sets its standards independently, including defining who is a child and at what age
Together for influence, impact and identity
The evangelical Fellowship of canada is the national association of
evangelicals gathered together for influence, impact and identity in
ministry and public witness. Since 1964 the eFc has provided a
national forum for evangelicals and a constructive voice for biblical
principles in life and society. visit us at theeFc.ca.
bruce J. cLemeNger is the president of The evangelical Fellowship of canada. read more of his columns at