TORONTO, Ontario January 29, 2019 — Nicole Bonnie, the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies’ (OACAS) first Black Chief Executive Officer (CEO), started in her role as head of the organisation, last week.
Bonnie, who is also the first Black CEO in the field of child welfare in Ontario, brings to her new position, a strong background in equity-centred leadership.
She is succeeding Mary Ballantyne, who has retired, after leading the OACAS for the past eight years.
The new CEO comes to the OACAS from the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, where she was the Director of Equity and Community Development, and prior to that, led Community Engagement and Partnerships, as well as Anti-Oppression Strategy, at the Peel District Children’s Aid.
Bonnie says she is looking forward to leading the OACAS and its 48 member agencies, as the organisation embarks upon a new five-year strategic plan, and enters a time of transformative change for child welfare in Ontario.
“OACAS and children’s aid societies in Ontario will continue to work hard and be guided by what we hear from the families and communities,” Bonnie said. “We are reimagining child welfare in a way that supports all families to thrive.”
The OACAS says its five-year strategic plan is focused on building a child welfare system, based on the pillars of respect and empowerment, reconciliation, equity and belonging, and consistent and excellent services across the province.
“We know that on a daily basis, children’s aid societies deliver vital services that support children, youth, and families,” Bonnie noted, adding “We also constantly strive to do better in delivering excellent services, consistently and equitably, across Ontario.”
According to the OACAS — which was established over 100 years ago — the legacies of colonialism and systemic oppression act as significant barriers in the child welfare sector, and the organisation claims that its five-year strategic plan recognizes these inherent issues and seeks to develop equity-informed policies and practices to mitigate their impact.
The new OACAS head says that she is confident that as the organisation seeks to be innovative, collaborative, and responsive, “the child welfare sector will continue to make positive change in the lives of those we serve.
“As we evolve and change as a sector, we remain steadfast in our commitment to improve outcomes. I feel honored and grateful to lead us on this journey.”