About Us

It’s important to know your history. Here’s ours.

What We Do

About Us

Collaboration. Imagination. Community. Care. The guiding principles of the Black Care Network remind us that collaborative, collective work fueled by anti-colonial imagination and grounded in community has always been essential to projects of non-carceral care.

We are committed to challenging and divesting from the systems and institutions that cause harm and to imagining new and dynamic ways of caring for and with each other. We believe in transformative rather than punitive justice; in caring for and about each other; and in the capacity of communities to identify their own needs as well as to actively participate in the process of meeting them.

A greou of 11 The Black CARE Nework (fomerly C.A.R.E.) staff and volunteers pose in front of a banner during an event workshop
OUR HISTORY

Storytime

The Black CARE Nework (fomerly C.A.R.E.) parricipants, volunteers and staff pose for the camera during an event workshop
2017

The Beginning as CARE

The Black CARE Network used to be a slightly different collective with a slightly different objective. Previously called CARE (The Child and Youth Care Alliance for Racial Equity), we began in 2017 as a self-formed group of Black and Indigenous child and youth care practitioners and educators (CYCs for short) and CYCs of colour. There was no formal name at the time, but we would meet up every couple of months to check in with each other, to think together about how we were caring for our communities and ourselves as we worked and taught CYC. Over the next four years, we worked together to address the impacts of colonialism and white supremacy that shape(d) our working, teaching and living experiences and the experiences of the young people and families in our communities. We hosted community gatherings, partnered with other community organizations and collectives on projects and events, facilitated online professional development, and conducted research together. We even flew to South Africa to share one of our projects at the National Association of Child Care Workers (NACCW) conference in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal!

Group of The Black CARE Network participants and volunteers walking in two lines outside in the grass
2020

Growing Together

In 2020, CARE became a not-for-profit organization and started a two-year research project in collaboration with LAMP community Health Centre and Toronto Metropolitan University focused on antiblack racism in CYC education. We got this great news of the grant in the midst of a year that would change the world. And things changed for CARE, too.

A group of volunteers and workers planting trees in the ground and talking at a Black CARE Netowork event outside in the summer in Toronto
2021

Evolving

CARE was growing and the requests for CARE to teach and provide professional development, especially around anti-black racism were at an all-time high. Our members were overwhelmed as so many people were at this time. At the end of summer 2021, CARE went on hiatus to allow its members to turn their energies to their own wellbeing and that of their communities and kin. A few members remained to work on the research project.

Juanita Stephen of The Black CARE Network standing at the front of a room and giving a presentation during a workshop event about children and youth in the Canadian care sector.
2022

Another Chapter

In 2022, under the weight of exhaustion, CARE decided to dissolve its not for profit status and vacate its membership. But instead of calling that the end, it was an opportunity to pivot the collective’s purpose and continue the work that CARE had laid the foundation for and that the research project had built upon. Which is, at its heart, about thinking, planning, building and working together for the kinds of care and care work that enrich, value and support Black children, families and communities in the ways that we determine are best. And so, The Black CARE Network was born.

OUR VALUES AND COMMITMENT

Community is at the heart of our work.

The Black CARE Network is a hub for connection and collaboration, committed to projects that work for the safety and liberation of Black children and communities. 

The Black CARE Network is committed to the recommendations put forward by the Truth and Reconciliation Committee and found in the final report from the inquest into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Our work is informed by the ongoing resistance and teachings of Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island in the face of enduring colonial violence — work that has always benefited everyone who breathes this air, drinks this water, and lives on and takes resources from this land. We are committed to working against colonial state violence that results in over-policing, over-incarceration and surveillance; unnecessary familial separation; erasure in education curricula; and continued land theft under the endorsement of municipal, provincial and national government.

We understand that the fight for racial justice is the fight for reproductive and disability justice. It is the fight for queer and trans liberation and Indigenous sovereignty. We acknowledge the violence of colonial borders and know that while our work is currently localized to our particular place in the world, none of us is free until we are all free. We work in solidarity with land defenders and water protectors, with activists and organizers who believe in the indisputable humanity of all of the world’s citizens. We denounce genocide and apartheid on a local, regional, national and global scale.

We will continue to work for the change that will make our schools, our communities, our world safe for Black children to live their lives in freedom.