Youth from care 5x more likely to die than the general population, BC Coroner report

Youth from care 5x more likely to die than the general population, BC Coroners Service report

We're disappointed by inadequate action for youth aging out of care over several years. This latest BC Coroners Serivce report shows so clearly why youth from care need action now.

Reading the report, here's what stood out:

  • Over half of one cohort of decedents identified barriers or stressors to accessing services
  • One in five youth under 19 had more than eleven placements in care before their death
  • The report explicitly mentions that "[youth] lose access to financial, education, and social supports provided through the child
    welfare system. They are now responsible for independently managing all aspects of their life and care needs."
  • The needs-based design of supports through Agreements with Young Adults must change

In response, the Ministry of Children and Family Development issued this statement. "This is a truly heartbreaking report, and government accepts all of the recommendations. We must do more to support young people who transition out of our care."

The ministry states that much has changed since 2016. While 84% of 18 year old youth in care have a plan of care in place, effective planning requires resources that are unavailable to youth from care.

Fostering Change's Youth Organizer Dylan Cohen, a former youth in care, states that "We're hopeful government will implement these recommendations immediately. Consultation is one step, but these reports are clear about the changes that need to be made." Our petition asking for a comprehensive action plan to re-imagine AYAs is here.

The recommendations on page 29 and 30 of the report are below:

Recommendations #1: Expand Agreements with Young Adults (AYAs) to Address Self-identified
Transition Needs

  • By April 2019, the MCFD will consult with youth, and additionally Delegated Aboriginal Agencies
    and frontline staff about how best to administer AYAs (e.g. youth needs for ongoing supports,
    ease of accessibility).
  • By October 2019, the MCFD will amend the qualifying criteria for AYAs so that all young people
    transitioning from care or Youth Agreements are universally eligible for the program. Services
    and financial support provided will address unique circumstances and transition needs of the
    young person.

Recommendation #2: Ensure Collaboration to Support Effective Planning and Service Provision

  • By April 2019, MCFD in collaboration with Indigenous and other stakeholders (health, mental
    health, police, education, community service providers) will develop processes or protocols to
    improve ongoing information sharing to better meet the planning and support needs of youth in
    care.
  • By April 2019, the MCFD will consult with youth and Indigenous partners on an ongoing basis to
    identify needs and services that would assist young people to successfully transition to
    adulthood.
  • By October 2019, the Ministry of Education will ensure that all children in care have a plan to
    support their educational needs.
  • By December 2019 the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions will collaborate with MCFD,
    Health and First Nations Health Authority to ensure access to youth mental health and
    addictions services for youth transitioning from care or on Youth Agreements.