Post-Secondary Education Program Review

Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is pleased to release the Post-Secondary Education Program Review, a report studying the effects of Foundation support on young people who were in permanent care and who received donor funding to pursue a post-secondary education.
The PSE Program is an integral part of our overall Education Strategy and our mission to improve the lives of children and youth in the child welfare system by removing barriers and pro­viding access to opportunities. The program has been supporting young people in their academic pursuits in Toronto since 1995 and at a national level since 2008. Since 1995, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada has awarded $12.3 million to students through 4,304 donor-funded scholarships, bursaries, and other awards from the Foundation.
In 2017, the Foundation partnered with the Child Welfare Institute for this study, which explored:
  • The journey students took through primary and secondary school;
  • When and why they made the decision to attend post-secondary;
  • Their path transitioning out of care; and
  • Their experiences during post-secondary school.
The research evidence highlights key short-term and long-term benefits of post-secondary supports and demonstrates that donor support is transforming young people’s lives through increased access to education and improved academic performance. Additionally, the support the youth received had a multiplying effect into other areas of their health and well-being, including relationships, employment, housing, health, and finance. The research also highlights that, despite the positive impacts post-secondary school has had for young people, they continue to struggle with low income, debt, and making ends meet. This illustrates for us the importance of continuing to support young people from care in multiple ways so they can be successful in their transition out of care, complete post-secondary studies, and find fulfilling employment.

Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is committed to using evidence to inform high quality program development and execution. This evaluation of our PSE Program has ad­vanced our understanding of the impact of post-secondary education funds for students and where program improvements could be made.

The data and insights arising from this report will inform our fundraising, grants, and programs for years to come.
We hope that others within the field of child welfare will also be able to learn from the study and the data, and that the report stimulates discussion on the importance of PSE supports for all youth in and from care.
Researchers interested in applying to access this dataset may contact Rebecca Green at or Dr. Deborah Goodman at

Valerie McMurtry
President and CEO