Helping Black students and families navigate processes and systems in Ontario schools

Seventeen Black led community organizations to provide full range of support

Farley Flex

To mark the 2022/2023 academic year, the newly formed, Ontario based Student and Family Advocacy (SFA) initiative, who offer free culturally relevant advocacy support to Black students and their parents/caregivers, is Back to School ready and available for intake. The SFA program is powered by a ‘Systems Navigation’ network, offering a range of supports to impact outcomes for Black children’s educational experiences in Ontario, including strategies to navigate school protocols and systems province wide. SFA is available to elementary, secondary and post-secondary students. 

SFA connects Black students and families to supports and services intended to encourage positive outcomes for Black children, youth and families at various entry points throughout their academic lifetime. SFA also provides leadership, advice and support to Ontario schools, and welcomes student contact for any reason and for any type of support concerning schools, instances of anti-Black racism included. 

According to Farley Flex of Urban Rez Solutions: “The classroom experience plays a significant role in the personal and professional development of our children and youth. We want to ensure each child is set up on a path to success and able to tap into their fullest potential while receiving equitable treatment as they develop lifelong skills in the classroom and beyond. Our priority is to ensure the next generation are well-equipped for the road ahead.”

Based on identifiable barriers and harms that Black students and families in Ontario face during a given academic year, SFA will stand beside Black students. As a large-scale advocacy group consisting of 17 established, Black led community organizations, SFA members are known for providing holistic solutions and services toward Ontario’s Black and African/Caribbean diasporic communities ongoing.

Each SFA organization has dedicated representatives available via a 3 step process for: conducting a search for a local SFA advocate, completing an intake form, and     connecting with a worker who

Student & Family Advocate

will create an action plan to wrap and support the student and parent/caregiver.

The culturally relevant supports available through SFA can be accessed throughout the Province and the program is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education.

The Student and Family Advocate Program (SFA) is a Black community-based program designed to support Black families and students as they engage with the education system. SFAs acknowledge, understand, and address Anti-Black Racism and its impacts on Black families and students through advocacy, accountability and action for transformational change.