From Issue #52 of the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks Power Pages:
The youth from care community is celebrating! In October, dozens of our current and former care siblings came together. We pushed our elected parents to change policy. We were so successful! We had 25 meetings with dozens of elected officials in Victoria, community organizations, and government leads.
For us youth at Fostering Change, this was an empowering moment. It showed us that the government, our parent, is willing to listen to our needs. It showed us that a team of young leaders, from teens to aged out adults, can sit down with politicians and directors of influential organizations, and say, “Hey, we deserve better.” We paved a road to justice for youth from care.
Folks came from across BC to make a difference for youth in and from care. We heard consistently that so many youth were incredibly committed to making the lives better for youth that come after them; we’ve already aged out, but there are so many chances for us to do better.
Advocacy is important, and organizing is an essential part of systemic change that requires youth to show up. The community
showed up! We went to our parents, the ten Cabinet Ministers, twenty-five MLAs, and aunties and uncles from the system, sharing
our need for universal and comprehensive Agreements with Young Adults.
We want to keep the pressure on our ‘parents’ to take better care of us! In December, we visited mayors’ offices in the Lower Mainland. Our idea was simple: host 19th Birthday Party events to show politicians and the media how scary and stressful it is to turn 19. There were balloons, cake, protest signs, and our full-on foster kid attitudes.
In the New Year we were back in action lobbying the provincial government, strategizing as a group, and building community together. We have lots of ideas for actions and workshops where you can learn the skills to talk to politicians and make change happen. We want to support each other to be loud, proud, and able to fight for our rights.
Watch for us in the media! We want government and regular people to remember that foster kids exist.
If you are a current or former youth in care interested in helping us Foster Change, please get in touch! We advocate for a better care system through creative political action. The Fostering Change Community Organizers will continue to push. We share experiences for better lives and so future generations of youth will not have to face the struggles we go through.
One day, we will all be given a chance to thrive, regardless of our challenging experiences in care.
But until that day, we will continue to Foster Change.
Join us at FosteringChange.ca, facebook.com/fosterchangeBC, and @fosterchangeBC
Anita, Tengis and Dylan
The Fostering Change Community Organizers
"I wanted to participate in Fostering Change’s 2018 Policy Solutions Day because I am currently a youth in care. In about two years I will age out of care which means I will no longer receive any support. People have set unrealistic expectations of kids who have been in foster care. I think it’s important for youth in care, and youth who may have been in care previously, to feel that they will still be supported when they transition from being a youth to a young adult. The government ends supports as soon as the youth turns 19.
The day started at 11:30 when everyone met in front of the legislative hall. We were put into groups and each group was
made up of different stakeholders. As advocates in the meetings, we talked about getting comprehensive and universal support for kids who have aged out of care. We shared our concerns for continued support of youth, especially for those who have not had consistent people in their lives to rely on.
In the beginning I wasn’t very comfortable with the idea of sharing my story or even revealing that I am a foster kid, because I was worried that people would look at me differently and judge me. However, when I got there I immediately felt comfortable because there were other youth my age and even older who have been in or still are in care. Everyone was sharing their stories about the need for continued support even after they turn 19.
I want to share my story with youth because I think that it’s important for us to be able to advocate for ourselves and make the world a better place. Kids in and from care have had experiences that no one should have to experience, and they shouldn’t have to do it alone. It’s important to advocate and it’s inhumane to stop caring about youth as soon as they turn 19. We still need to have all the care, such as counsellors, funding, support, and social workers that we were used to having. We aren’t shown how to live by ourselves, or even how to do a lot of the basic things other kids would have learnt from their parents. As youth in care, are we supposed to learn how to be young adults all by ourselves? And not have any support? It’s unfair! We do not have the benefits that many children who are not in care receive. We deserve to be treated like any other child and shouldn’t suffer or be without just because we are in the foster care system. It is our basic human right to be treated as equals and not to simply be cut off once we reach a certain age."