Diane Kehoe signed A Comprehensive Action Plan 2018-06-19 04:21:27 -0700I know that there are a number of young adults who were never in permanent care but because of a parent’s illness spent many months in care by agreement over the years from the time they were little until they were 18. These young people have had many disruptions in their lives and although they were able to live with a parent some of the time, in actual fact, some of them were in care longer than others who actually became permanent wards. These young people often end up looking after a parent with a serious illness after they legally become adults, so in many ways they become the parent of their own parents.
These young people willingly take on their family responsibilities but their ability to get on with their educations, their work, and developing relationships with their peers are often severely hampered. These young adults should also be considered for ongoing support when they have aged out of care. They often depend on the relationships that they have made with social workers and foster parents even after they are no longer eligible for supportive care due to their age.906 signatures
On April 11, we heard official youth transition stats from Ministry of Children and Family Development representatives. They told us that 87% of eligible, post-19 youth from government care are not accessing MCFD Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) services. AYAs are the primary way MCFD supports the 1000 youth who age out of care every year. It tells us that the program intervention the government has relied on for years is not working.
Premier Horgan told us that the government is working on an action plan: let's ensure it's comprehensive.
Decision makers are listening and it's time for us to act. On Thursday, April 12, Premier John Horgan responded on behalf of six ministries to our policy asks made on October 24. He made a commitment to "expand and improve supports to youth transitioning from care through the development of an action plan to be created by the Cross-Ministry working group."
It's government-speak, but represents a milestone for the youth-in-care community. We successfully nudged the creation of a cross-ministry task force dedicated to achieving better outcomes.
We know that better outcomes come from comprehensive, evidence-based policy, and that youth must be included in planning. Youth from care are experts in understanding policy impacts. This expertise is essential to creating a successful action plan.
Please sign our call for a comprehensive action plan
"Premier Horgan, it's essential that bold changes are made for youth from care after 19. In your mandate letter to Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy, you said that you expect substantive progress in funding increases to Agreements with Young Adults "in order to offer supports to all youth aging out of care who need it, not just a few." Your Cross-Ministry action plan must ensure:
- Guaranteed, consistent, and adequate financial support until age 25 through the Agreements with Young Adults program, eliminating all eligibility criteria.
- Government and youth from care advocates come together before the fall legislature to hear youth input and explore universal AYA policy development."