This year in British Columbia, 700 youth in foster care will be cut off from housing, services, care-givers, and the people in their lives when they turn 19. A birthday should be time for cake and candles, but instead these young people are facing cut off from the supports and relationships they need to thrive. Unprepared for this abrupt change, many young people experience significant and avoidable set-backs, trauma and crises in the following years.
Should we be surprised that only six months after leaving care at 19, approximately 50% will apply for income assistance? That over 40% of homeless youth have been part of the child welfare system including adoption and foster care? That only 27% of 19 year olds leave high school with a Dogwood certificate? That youth who have been in foster care are twice as likely to report extreme levels of stress as those who have not been in care?
Young people from foster care deserve the same support as everyone else.
Parents don‘t change the locks, stop answering phone calls, cancel dinners, and stop being around when their kids turn 19. They help them find important school, work, and life opportunities. It sounds obvious, but young people from foster care deserve the same support as everyone else.
BRITISH COLUMBIANS KNOW 19 YEAR OLDS NEED SUPPORT
More than 70% of British Columbians do not think any 19 year-olds are ready to live on their own. So what do they do? They help. More than 80% of families with kids ages 19-28 provide them with financial and material support. Parents in BC do a great job showing up for their kids, and help them to find happiness and success.
But as a society we haven’t yet figured out how to help the kids whose family connections have been fractured for much of their childhood. They face the journey to adulthood alone. So out of the 43% of British Columbians ages 19-28 that live at home, nearly all of them have the security of parents that help. But young people that come foster care don‘t. British Columbians know this isn‘t right.
WE ALL NEED SOMEONE
Most of us can think of times in our early adulthood when someone provided a boost, a connection, or some timely support to get us out of a jam. We made a phone call, we caught a break, and we knew someone was there to pick us up. We had the chance to recover from a mistake.
Healthy transitions from adolescence to adulthood are built on good relationships with peers, family, and community. Ironically, we grow in confidence and self-sufficiency when we know there is someone there when we need them.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
We are helping to build a growing community of youth, parents, governments, organizations and businesses who recognize that the transition to adulthood is gradual, and that youth who grew up in foster care deserve the same support as everyone else.
Find out how you can help, and join a community of people working towards providing the relationships and support that will help youth foster care thrive.