On March 24, 2015, Abbotsford Community Services and the University of the Fraser Valley’s Child and Youth Care program hosted a panel discussion entitled “Youth Aging out of Care, Building Bridges Beyond 19.” The goal of this dialogue was to raise awareness and discuss alternatives to the reality of youth aging out of foster care in the British Columbia.
Vancouver Foundation’s Kris Archie began the evening with the keynote address. Attendees spent the evening listening the reflections and insight of Kris Archie and the panel members, which consisted of three former youth in care, a foster parent, social workers and a CYC practitioner.
In addition to community members, UFV students (including a large number of UFV’s CYC and Bachelor Of Social Workstudents), Ministry workers and community partners, the event attracted high profile dignitaries including the Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun. Those in attendance walked away with new insights and perspectives on the impacts of youth “aging out” of care at the age of 19.
Youth need lasting connections
One of the main topics over the course of the evening was the need for lasting connections for youth. Those in attendance were challenged to address the needs of youth in Abbotsford by becoming mentors, reaching out to youth to develop long-term relationships, and advocating for change at all levels of government.
Change is on the way for youth leaving care in British Columbia
The night concluded with Mayor Henry Braun’s thoughtful comments on the need to continue this dialogue. Change is on the way for youth leaving care in British Columbia, and events that connect youth, foster patents, social workers and community leaders are an important step in that direction.
- Words by Pamela Jones, Abbotsford Community Services.
Community Conversation in Abbotsford May 25, 2015
The next Fostering Change Community Conversation in Abbotsford will take place May 25, 2015 from 12:30pm to 4:30pm at The Reach. To register, click here.