New CAS leader will lead ‘meaningful change’

York Region’s embattled Children’s Aid Society (YRCAS) has answered the call for new leadership, appointing an executive who has more than 30 years of leadership experience in the non-profit sector under her belt.

The appointment of Ginelle Skerritt, the first Black CEO in the history of Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies, comes nearly a year after the Ministry of Children, Community and Society commissioned a third-party report after it received allegations of racism, bullying and harassment involving senior management.

“Staff were found to be resilient and caring, but at the same time were deeply impacted by issues in the following areas: leadership at the agency, overall workplace culture, racism and anti-Black racism,” Agree Inc. said in its review. Released in November 2020, the review called for a “new leadership direction and approach” to be put in place quickly.

Ginelle Skerritt

“Her demonstrated collaborative and inclusive leadership style, combined with her experience and unwavering commitment to equity and justice, will help lead our agency through meaningful, transformative change,” Tahir Shafiq, Chair of the Board of Directors, says of Skerritt’s appointment, which is effective Oct. 12.

Skerritt worked most recently as vice president of Vibrant Communities and Poverty Reduction at The Neighbourhood Group in Toronto and was a regional director at UNICEF Ontario.

“Ginelle has a breadth of experience successfully leading innovative organizational initiatives to address a range of important issues that impact the well-being of children and youth,” the YRCAS says. “She brings valuable expertise on matters that are central to child welfare, like poverty and hunger, loss of identity, lack of emotional support, poor sense of belonging and connection to community.

“With a community-centred approach and a strong grounding in equity practice, Ginelle is eager to take on the challenge of moving the work of YRCAS forward to better support our diverse community.”

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