How will the major parties support youth in and from foster care?
The 2017 BC provincial election is quickly approaching, and the results will have a major impact on the 700 youth who age out of foster care each year. It is, therefore, crucial to know how the parties intend to stand up for these amazing young people.
We’ve provided a summary of their platform commitments on this issue, along with links to the full platforms.
The BC Green Party platform includes a commitment to:
- Introduce basic income support for youth aged 18 to 24 who are transitioning out of foster care.
The platform cites a Vancouver Foundation report, Opportunities in Transition, which recommends paying all youth ages 18-24 transitioning out of foster care a “basic support fund” of between $15,000-$20,000. The report estimates that this would cost $57 million per year, whereas the cost of the status quo is between $22-268 million per year, due to the range of adverse outcomes that affect youth in transition.
The BC Liberal Party platform includes commitments to:
- Find forever homes for at least 600 children and youth each year.
- Focus on improving permanency planning and cultural connections for First Nation children and youth in care
- Invest $70.1 million to help keep First Nation families together and better support the children currently in care as recommended by Grand Chief Ed John
- Continuing to work to reduce the number of children and youth in care, particularly the over representation of Aboriginal children by:
(1) Supporting families and communities to ensure that children and youth can safely remain at home
(2) Focus on finding forever homes
- Work with youth in and from care to improve high school completion rates, with a target of over 55% by 2020
- Improve participation rates in the Agreement with Young Adult program and looking at the expansion of supports for this cohort based on the advice of the Youth Advisory Council
The BC NDP platform includes commitments to:
- Increase funding for Agreements with Young Adults by an additional $10 million
- Ensure that the K-12 system has the resources to help youth-in-care graduate with their peers.
- Work with universities and colleges to expand the tuition fee waiver program and provide enhanced supports for former youth in care who pursue post-secondary education
- Work to implement all the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, with reducing the number of Aboriginal children entering the care system as a top priority
- Implement the recommendations from Grand Chief Ed John’s report and provide better supports to keep Aboriginal children at home and out of care.
- Ensure Delegated Aboriginal Agencies are supported to offer services at the same level offered to non-Aboriginal children
- Ensure that basic care standards are met for Aboriginal children in care, that there is a plan for every child in care to connect them with their culture and communities, and that there is a plan for permanency.
- Task the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth to review the recommendations of the Independent Representative for Children and Youth to identify recommendations that have not been met and how to address them
Read the full party platforms: