Susan Russell published 2022 Budget Consultation Submission in Take Action 2021-08-31 11:00:15 -0700
The BC Government’s 2022 budget consultations are underway, and we have a new audience to reach.
It’s our job to ensure that members of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services become familiar with the issues youth face as they age out of the child welfare system. We believe that every youth should be supported through the transition to adulthood in a safe, stable, and equitable way. Your voice can help keep our call on the public agenda.
We have the power to influence the 2022 budget by urging government to both permanently establish supports that have had a positive impact on the lives of youth and implement new ones. We are calling on government to
- automatically enroll youth in financial programs upon aging out of government care, regardless of care status or time spent in care and youth should also have the option to opt-in at a later date;
- provide for an enhanced range of trauma-informed and culturally appropriate mental health and substance use services for young people transitioning from care into adulthood;
- extend access to cultural programs, cultural healing, and wellness programs, currently supported through the Adult Youth Agreement Program;
- permanently implement the expanded program eligibility implemented as a pandemic measure; and
- ensure adequate housing units dedicated to youth transitions from all statuses of government care.
The more people like you who let the Committee know they care, the more likely it is that the next provincial budget will allocate the funding required to significantly improve supports for youth in and from care in BC.
We have a letter template (below) for you to use that should take about 5 minutes to complete and send.
Please join us in calling for a future where every youth looks forward to turning 19.
- Copy and paste the template below into a word document
- Fill in the suggested blanks
- Submit as a Word document or PDF through The Budget Consultation Portal and/or fill out the online survey https://consultations.leg.bc.ca/Submission/Create?cons=Budget2022
- The deadline is Thursday, September 30 at 5:00 p.m.
My name is __________________ and I join the 76% of British Columbians who support an extension of post-majority support for youth transitioning out of government care.
I believe that British Columbians value _________________, ____________, and _____________. When looking forward to a fair, inclusive and vibrant province we know that supporting all youth will be an essential part of the foundation.
When I turned 19, I celebrated by:
As an ally to youth in and from foster/government care, I recognize that at the age of 19 an estimated 1,000 youth annually are forced to give up their social safety nets in place of post-majority supports that don’t serve them in an equitable way. We can end the “Super Highway to Homelessness” that describes what happens to care-leavers at age 19.
- Youth in care have much lower high school graduation rates: 38% by the age of 19 compared to 84% for other youth.
- Between 1998 and 2002, 74% of youth who transitioned out of care were in receipt of Income Assistance benefits in at least one month in the following 15 years, compared to 5% of the population as a whole.
- In 2018, youth leaving government care died at five times the rate of the general population of young people in British Columbia.
- One of the top pathways into youth homeless includes an “unsafe and non-responsive foster care system” which includes significant barriers related to aging out of foster care and lack of aftercare support.
Minister of Children and Family Development, Mitzi Dean, is mandated to: “Build on our expanded supports for young adults in care, with particular attention to supporting the transition to independence and ensuring supports reach all youth.”
To fulfill this mandate, I call on your government to ensure no youth ages out of support until they have secured safe, stable housing and cost-indexed financial support. This means that there is an automatic enrollment into support upon aging out of government care, regardless of care status or time spent in care.
This proposed policy change requires a concrete, short-term investment of an estimated $35 million annually to achieve long-term results for the 1,000 youth who age out of care each year. Together, we can solve youth homelessness for youth transitioning out of government care. Every youth deserves to look forward to turning 19.
Name __________________________________ City/Town_______________________________
Our 4th annual 19th Birthday Celebration - We All Turn 19 - event recap.Read more
On July 7th we wrote to The Premier to remind government of not only their commitments to youth in/from care but also to their commitments to create meaningful and lasting reconciliation. We believe this can be achieved though implementing culturally safe and stable wrap-around supports for all youth who transition from care, not just come. Check out the reply on his behalf from Minister Mitzi Dean of Children and Family Development here.Read more
Susan Russell published Fostering Change's Letter to The Premier 2021 in Our Work 2021-07-14 15:11:02 -0700
We regularly write to The Premier to remind him of his past commitments to ensure that support reaches all youth, not just a few.Read more
This letter was consulted on by the community. It is centered to the needs of the community. Thank you to the Fostering Change Youth Team for continuously informing our advocacy to ensure all youth leaving care are supported.
On October 24th 2018, we wrote to secure the commitment that "the AYA program with the goal of offering supports to all youth aging out of care who need it, and not just a few. On June 26th 2020, we wrote an ask to further increase investments in the community.
Check out our most current letter, sent July 7th here.
Susan Russell published National Council of Youth in Care Advocates in Our Work 2021-07-14 14:08:56 -0700
Since March 2019, the National Youth in Care Advocates gathered networks of youth in care and youth alumni from care to increase and coordinate their advocacy efforts to create National Standards for youth transitions from care.On June 23rd we wrote to the Minister of Child and Family Development, Mitzi Dean about the our best practices related to youth transitions including National Standards and what it means to age out of care supported.Read more
Check our letter to the Minister here.
This campaign is meant to meet you where you are at!That could look like:- When attending the meetings, and events attend in the way that speaks to you.- Camera's for zoom meetings are optional, intentional participation is encouraged.- If you have an issue with the way anything happens, you are very much encouraged to approach me and we can create a container to chat together that's grounded in respect and kindness.
What does a campaign organizer do?My role is to offer you activities that build your capacity in this social movement.
What does Fostering Change do?
Our collective goal is to change the landscape of transitions from care in BC through lobbying activities.
What is the campaign asking for?
-An automatic enrollment into Agreements with Young Adults post-majority support program upon leaving government care. (Universal support)
-Dependable, price indexed financial resources that pay rent, food, hygiene, tuition and start up costs. (Comprehensive support)
Are campaign activities paid?
Fostering Change as a campaign offers honorarium to support your attendance in team meetings, workshops, presentations and relevant peer networking
How much will I receive?
You will be supported in team meetings and workshops at living wage per hour
i.e 3 hour workshop (3 hours = $60)
Not every activity is a paid activity, we will be clear on which ones those are before you attend.
How do I get the money?
We offer several ways to get you the support we offer!
- in person drop off (After August 2021 due to COVID restrictions)
Can I have my meeting support money ahead of the meeting?
We do not offer this as an option.
Can you send me food? Or lend me money?
We do not offer the option to send food through Skip, DoorDash or any other food delivery service. We also do not offer the option of grocery or finance drop off before meetings or any other time.
We are happy to point you in the direction of a youth serving agency that might be able to help.
At Fostering Change we believe all youth should look forward to their 19th birthday.
Fostering Change is focused on improving outcomes for youth leaving government care. The 2 pillar approach of Youth Development and Policy Advocacy create a unique climate of change for all youth in/from care. We are supported in our work by First Call Child and Youth Advocacy Society and together, we are committed as ever to improving the lives of children, youth and their families through good public policy.
It's grassroots, and in British Columbia, Canada, on traditional, unceded territories of the many Coast Salish Peoples.
Our role is to engage youth in advocacy through capacity building workshops, peer network building, awareness raising and through advocacy action. Our focus demographic of youth we seek to engage are youth (under the age of 30) who have lived expertise in government care, all care statuses accepted. Fostering Change is a non-membership required, non-partisan and peace based campaign that lobbies to create change through various mediums.
Youth are leaving care unsupported
- Over 40% of homeless youth have been part of the child welfare system
- 45% of youth from care aged out without any high school credential (2016/2017)
- 65% of BC youth in care are Indigenous, yet they make up only 10% of the under 19 year old's in the general population.
- Educational, economic, social, and holistic wellness outcomes for many youth aging out of care are drastically lower when compared to their peers not in care.
Adequate and reliable - the support British Columbians provide their children
• An automatic enrollment into supports for all youth in and from care regardless of time spent in care, or care status.
• Guaranteed and equitable access to financial assistance - including start up costs for independent living, tuition waivers, and safe dignified housing.
We attracted over 17,000 petition signatures from allies like you demonstrating that the public want to see action on this issue by government, business, and the community.
Since 1987,75 reports centered on youth in care and the ‘aging out’ of care process have been published across Canada, amounting to over 435 concrete recommendations for change to child protection policy and practice targeted to the transition to adulthood for youth in care. Check out the reports and recommendations in summary document "A Long Road Paved with Solutions" complied by Dr. Melanie M. Doucet.
Connect with Campaign Organizer Susan Russell-Csanyi to learn more ([email protected]) (604-970-5462)
Fostering Change is a campaign hosted by First Call Child and Youth Advocacy Society. First Call does not sell, trade, or rent our mailing lists or contact information.
- For the past seven years First Call has been housed at Vancity Community Foundation (VCF) and we thank them for their invaluable support.
Overall, our toolkit below is meant to lift youth voice and bring awareness to the issues and solutions to support the 700 youth who age out of care in British Columbia. We applaud the continuously courageous efforts of the youth who belong to the Fostering Change Team, and those who took the time to share/contribute to the toolkit.
We hope this provides you the tools and confidence to hold the candidates accountable to their promise of improving transition supports.
Policy advocacy is one of many kinds of advocacy! At Fostering Change we are focused on changing the laws that affect the lives of youth transitioning from government care across British Columbia. This means that we engage in activities that will get decision makers (typically - Ministers, Assistant Deputy Ministers, and MLAs) attention so they can change the fine print that makes eligibility to post majority services, like Agreements with Young Adults, inaccessible to most youth leaving care.
2 Step Approach
Team development - activities to increase your confidence in advocacy.
- team meetings to set up campaign activities
- time to connect with peers from care
- celebration of each other and the work we do together
- workshops to increase knowledge of policy levels, writing skills and more!
Everyone who works with the campaign has lived expertise in the child welfare system.
We invited all youth (anyone under 30) and with lived expertise in care (all care statuses) to join us!
Policy Advocacy - peaceful, intentional lobbying.
Everything we offer for activities is connected to the change we want to see using:
- Awareness raising activities (rally's, public events)
- Policy Solutions Day (a day of meeting with provincial decision makers)
- Letter's to decision makers, media interviews, writing for paper
We are not a front-line youth serving organization, but exist to serve policy change so that all youth will leave care supported
and looking forward to their 19th birthday.
First Call Child and Youth Advocacy Society
Fostering Change is a program of First Call Child and Youth Advocacy Society. First Call is a not-for-profit society registered in BC. First Call's programs like Living Wage for Families BC and the annual Child Poverty Report Card all aim to improve the lives of children, youth and their families through good public policy.
First Call works with over 110 provincial and regional organizations who have united their voices to put children and youth first in BC through public education, community mobilization, and public policy advocacy.
First Call partners work together to make sure all BC’s children and youth benefit from the 4 Keys to Success for Children and Youth:
- A strong commitment to early childhood development
- Support in transitions from childhood to youth and adulthood (Fostering Change campaign)
- Increased economic equality
- Safe and caring communities
First Call's Vision
- BC’s children and youth have the rights, opportunities and resources required to thrive.
First Call's Mission
- To put BC’s children and youth first through public education, community mobilization and public policy advocacy.
Fostering Change is a program of First Call Child and Youth Advocacy Society. First Call does not sell, trade, or rent our mailing lists or contact information.
WE ARE EVERYWHERE is dedicated to the 1000 youth who age out of government care annually. The content of this book was created in part through community-engaged gatherings of art making, conversation, and inquiry based on the question: “What do I know now that I would tell my 19-year old self?” The extraordinary ordinary individuals you will meet in the book all have the shared experience of being in government care.
Inspired by the generosity of the individuals featured in this book and by the remarkable photographs of Sarah (a.k.a Emmet) Race. We are Everywhere is intended to be words of advice to youth who are still in care, but this book will challenge all its readers to reconsider the narrow story of those who survived government care.
The spirit of this collection of interviews is an invitation to us all; particularly to our 19-year-old selves, whether we experienced government care or not, to learn from the collective insights and wisdom of these generous and amazing people.
The online availability of We Are Everywhere was made possible by the generous support & mentorship of:
Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada: www.cafdn.org
McKellar & Martin Publishing: www.mckellarmartin.com
Bright Wing Media: www.brightwing.ca
Launch Pad Publishing: www.launchpadpub.com
A response from Minister Dean and Minister Chen on what they are doing to abolish child poverty in your community.Read more
Commitments that are echoed from the last provincial election that we are still waiting on to improve community outcomes.Read more
Have you ever been curious about who makes the decisions that affect you, their roles, accountability and your role as an advocate?Read more
Check out these colorfully engaging infographics!
Susan Russell published March Deadline - Extended Supports Policy Note in Our Work 2021-01-12 12:47:49 -0800
For the holiday season our team organized a themed card, and a policy note detailing how decision makers can best support their community of youth in/from care this, and all seasons.
Check out the letter TRRUST's Collective Impact of over of over 60 organizations and 250 members wrote to Kennedy Stewart, Mayor of Vancouver, in working to achieve system-wide improvements in the outcomes for youth transitioning out of government care in Vancouver, British Columbia.Read more
Do you have a question about Fostering Change?
- Some answers about the campaign and advocacy basics might be found here.
- We also encourage a flip through some of our shared research that might help answer questions about data - you can find that here.
- Check out what we've been up to in 2020 year here - it will help you know what to expect next year!
Couldn't find what you were looking for?
Contact Campaign Organizer - Susan Russell-Csanyi