March 19, 2020
COVID-19 and Youth Impact
Dear Minister Conroy,
We, campaign organizers at Fostering Change, are a team of organizers dedicated to challenging systemic injustice for youth in and from government care. We are all former youth in care, and passionate about changing systems and building community together. We are supported by the Fostering Change Campaign, hosted by First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we write on behalf of all youth who have aged out of care, many of whom are missing crucial support in this health crisis. As our parents, we look to the Provincial Government to ensure a sense of safety and preparedness.
The urgency of the pandemic adds to the financial crisis experienced by thousands of youth who have transitioned out of care, and the hundreds who are soon to transition out of the Province’s care. We want to ensure youth will not be removed from their current funding resources — like Agreement with Young Adults — especially in this time of uncertainty. We urge a comprehensive and universal lens of support to bring a sense of stability, safety and health for the wellbeing of our youth.
We want to know British Columbia's population of youth from care will be supported to thrive at this time as well. Lived expertise has been shared throughout the group to illustrate what youth from care are facing in relation to COVID-19:
- Youth are struggling to afford nutritious food, due to scarcity.
- Youth have become unable to afford basic necessities for hygiene.
- Youth have lost employment-related sources of income.
- Youth’s professional supports are closed, making isolation even more challenging to those with mental health challenges.
We ask the government to implement the following during the time to help mitigate the effects COVID-19 will have on the lives of youth as they transition into adulthood:
- Regarding (AYA) Agreements with Young Adults: The time of COVID-19 and quarantine would not count toward the 48 month maximum.
- Youth would be able to access their AYA during this time regardless of being able to access school and life skills programs.
- Youth would receive all forms of government support they are eligible for, with no maximum financial cap.
Discretionary funding would be approved on all level (social worker, transition worker, expense authority and finance) for all youth in and from care at this time.
Can we count on you to ensure youth in and from the Province’s care will continue to receive the necessary benefits, and have access to emergency support to be safe and healthy in this time of uncertainty?
The Fostering Change Community Organizing Team