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_______________________________