Read our policy brief for Policy Solutions Day, October 25th 2021.
In British Columbia, the Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) Program is the only support program serving youth once they have turned 19 and aged out of government care. The program supports both youth who have aged out of care from a Youth Agreement (YAG) or Continuing Custody Order (CCO).
It is intended to support youth who are attending an educational, training, or life skills program, or a rehabilitation program. The AYA Program provides a maximum of $1,250 per month which falls short of the cost of living and leaves youth without necessities, including housing, and community and cultural support.
Fostering Change held 4th annual Policy Solutions Day!
On Monday, October 25th 2021, 20 youth aged 17-28 who have lived experience in government care met virtually with decision makers across the province. Youth from Kamloops, Vancouver, New Westminster, and Surrey.
Youth attended a training session to build their capacity and confidence related to speaking to decision makers including Minister Dean, Minister Malcolmson, Minister Robinson, Minster Eby and many more! The youth were provided speaking materials, prep and debrief space and were supported with an honorarium provided by Aunt Leah's Place and The Federation of Youth in Care Networks BC to honor their time and commitment during the day.
Susan Russell-Csanyi, Community Organizer at Fostering Change, presented the following comments to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services during the 2022 Budget Consultation.
I’d like to start off by recognizing the diverse experiences of over 6,700 children and youth in care in BC, and 900 alumni of care, aging out of care this year, and every year in British Columbia. Youth are aging out of government care without support. 225 youth a year are left to fend for themselves at the age of 19 due to ineligibility of support due to barriers created by existing policies.
At Fostering Change we seek to engage youth with lived expertise in the child welfare system, our current 130 youth advocates work together to change public policy so youth don't age out of government care into homelessness and other adverse outcomes.