Children and youth enter foster care at any given age, but in British Columbia 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.
First Call wants to see better policies that help every youth from care thrive. On October 24, 2017, First Call partnered with the Vancouver Foundation’s Fostering Change initiative to host a Youth Policy Solutions Day lunch with youth from care, allied supporters and MLAs. Youth presented their policy brief to government with recommendations for change.
That afternoon, a crowd of 200 youth and adult allies held a public rally outside the BC legislature to show government we stand for youth in care. See the videos and photos of the lunch and public rally on Facebook. Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy and BC Representative for Children and Youth Bernard Richard spoke at the rally. Premier John Horgan was among the many adult allies who gathered in support.
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.
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.