Children and youth enter foster care at any given age, but in BC all youth in the system must ‘age out’ at 19.
When youth age out, the government services and supports they rely on in place of a family are simultaneously cut off.
- 57% of homeless youth in some BC communities from care
- 53% turn 19 with a completed high school education
- Approximately 1000 youth age out every year
Youth hit a cliff at 19. Let’s change that.
- Universal and comprehensive supports for youth leaving care. We want to change the Agreements with Young Adults program (the primary way that youth get support in 19) by eliminating eligibility criteria and ensuring that the supports are more than just a measly pay-cheque. We want the same opportunities that typically parented peers have.
- #AgingIntoHomes: when we turn 19, we want a guaranteed and dependable amount of financial support to furnish our first home. Right now, there's some services but they're provided inequitably and inconsistently across BC.
Fostering Change, hosted by First Call, wants to see better policies that help every youth from care thrive. Previously hosted by Vancouver Foundation, we launched our initiative with a policy brief to government with recommendations for change. We have an updated 2019 brief here.
After 2017 Policy Solutions Day (See the report here), we convened a youth team to consider policy change. We created a campaign timeline - orienting ourselves as activists and change-makers in a powerful moment.
Youth from care are experts on fixing policy and changing the practices to better the system. It’s why we’re assembling a team of incredible advocates with experience in the care system, supported by many of our allies. The Fostering Change Community Organizers (FCCOs):
- Create opportunities for changing provincial policy
- Challenge systems of oppression and work with decision makers toward justice
- Educate and inform the public on our passions
- Be comprised of Indigenous and settler youth
- Show leadership in child welfare policy changes in the province through creativity, campaigning, and fun
The FCCOs advocate using a variety of methods to advocate for a better system. These include direct actions, such as the banner drop where we had a surprise action to drop a banner that read "fostering change for aged out youth." We also advocate directly to government, such as the October 24, 2018 Lobby Day in Victoria.
In 2017, each of BC’s three political parties made some commitments to improve supports for youth transitioning out of government care. These promises need to be kept.