Child Friendly TO
Child Friendly TO is working to transform our city into a place where all children can learn, play and grow in the healthiest way possible. We are building a culture that applies a child-friendly lens to inform City planning and decision-making by increasing the role and voice of children in municipal affairs and promoting the rights of children across Toronto, as laid out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
Child Friendly TO is grounded in the Child Friendly Policy Framework. We believe that:
- Children are influential stakeholders: Children are important residents with unique perspectives, ideas and experiences that have the power to change how we plan and make decisions.
- Children are experts in child-friendliness and we must listen to them carefully: Listening to children’s expertise creates opportunity and improves equity. Building a city that is friendly and nurturing for children requires an understanding of what living in the city is like for a child.
- Engaging with children is our responsibility and duty: Local government has a responsibility to engage and listen to children, as with all residents, when planning and making decisions.
All children have rights. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a treaty that recognizes the specific rights of children.
Through the CRC, children have the right to:
- Protection (e.g., from abuse, exploitation and harmful substances)
- Provision (e.g., for education, health care and an adequate standard of living)
- Participation (e.g., listening to children’s views and respecting their evolving capacities)
- Specific protections and provisions for vulnerable populations such as Indigenous children and children with disabilities
Canada offers many opportunities for children and their families. Despite this, however, “some children suffer from poverty, homelessness, abuse, neglect, preventable diseases and unequal access to good quality education, protection and justice systems. The standards and principles articulated in the Convention can only become a reality when they are respected by everyone—within the family, in schools and other institutions that provide services for children, in communities and at all levels of government.” UNICEF Canada
In 1991 Canada ratified this convention and it is all of our responsibility to ensure that these rights are upheld.
The City of Toronto is working with Maximum City to create a KidScore. The KidScore will test the child-friendliness of Toronto neighbourhoods – as defined by Toronto’s kids!
The KidScore will focus on children aged 5 to 12 and includes indicators on safety, health and overall well-being. It will be a way for children to assess the child-friendliness of their local streets, places and neighbourhoods.
The information and ideas collected through the KidScore will inform planning at a local level as well as city-wide policies. The data will be publicly available through Raising the Village.
Raising the Village
Raising the Village is an initiative of the Toronto Child and Family Network. It includes shared outcomes for child and family well-being in Toronto and presents data that shows how well Toronto is doing under each area.
In the fall of 2018, children in grade four and five classes in Toronto were invited to share their ideas about creating a child-friendly city.
We asked them:
- What is child-friendly in your neighbourhood? And what is not child-friendly?
- What would a child-friendly Toronto look, feel and sound like?
- If you had one wish to make Toronto more child-friendly, what would it be?
A Teachers’ Package with classroom activities was created to support this work.
November 20 is National Child Day in Canada. It is a day for recognizing and celebrating the inherent rights of the youngest residents: children.
Highlights from 2018 National Child Day
In celebration of National Child Day in 2018, the ideas and perspectives of grade 4/5 students across Toronto were showcased at City Hall. Key themes included:
- Why it’s important to listen to children when the City plans and makes decisions
- What a ‘child-friendly city’ looks like to children in Toronto
- What is and isn’t already child friendly in Toronto
- How Toronto could become more child-friendly.
Two grade 4/5 classes from Kensington Community School (TDSB) and St. Barnabas (TCDSB) held a meeting with the Mayor and senior City officials to share their ideas. The media captured the ideas presented by the children. Thank you to all of the children that participated. You were heard.