Victoria Tuesday, March 15, 2022, 12:15 PM
Budget 2022 funds comprehensive supports for young people transitioning from government care to adulthood, including a new financial supplement, a no-limit earnings exemption, help with the cost of housing, improved access to transition workers, enhanced life skills and mental health programs, and better medical benefits until age 27.
This is the first time the Province has created a comprehensive cross-government approach to supporting youth in and from care.
“We’re all better off when we work together and look out for each other,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance. “Supporting youth in care to transition to adulthood the way we would support our own children is one way we’re building a stronger society and putting people first.”
Since 2017, the Province has been making significant investments to improve support for youth transitioning from care. In Budget 2022, the Province will invest nearly $35 million over three years, including increases of $4.6 million in 2022-23, $10 million in 2023-24 and $19.8 million in 2024-25.
“We learned a lot from the pandemic emergency supports, and young people told us what they needed to not just survive but to thrive – and we heard them loud and clear,” Dean said. “We believe in these young people, and we’re showing that by giving them the supports they need to lead healthy and happy lives.”
People who have been in government care are far more likely to experience homelessness or a mental-health crisis in their lives. Budget 2022 investments aimed at supporting strong transitions for former youth in care are part of a $633 million cross-government strategy to prevent homelessness and keep people housed.
Lorena Bishop, executive director, Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks –
“This investment is an important step toward altering the trajectory of youth leaving government care, which we know can lead to homelessness. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the government to ensure youth in and from care have the supports and resources they need so they can share their incredible gifts, strengths and talents with the world.”
Susan Russell-Csanyi, former youth in care and advocate from the National Council of Youth in Care Advocates –
“The investment in the cohort of youth who are aging out of care embeds equity into the community. We know that youth who have lived expertise in government care experience homelessness after leaving that system at a disproportionate rate. As advocates, our hope is that all youth will have access to support and, therefore, look forward to turning 19.”
- Approximately 1,100 youth transition to adulthood from government care each year, 46% of whom are Indigenous.
- Between Jan. 1, 2020, and May 31, 2021, emergency housing and the Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) program measures reached 625, or 59%, of the 1,068 AYA-eligible young adults who turned 19.
Budget 2022: https://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2022/
Agreements with Young Adults program:
Further resources for former youth in care: https://agedout.com/
To have your say on how new supports and services for youth and young adult from care are implemented, visit: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/youthtransitions/
A backgrounder follows.
Youth from care to get a new system of supports
The Ministry of Children and Family Development has the mandate to support youth until age 19. This means substantive changes to the Child, Family and Community Service Act are needed, along with new investments, to build a comprehensive suite of supports for young people moving into adulthood.
Under Budget 2022, the Ministry of Children and Family Development is creating a coordinated suite of services and benefits to support young adults from care.
The new system will be developed and implemented during the next three years, beginning immediately with an ongoing extension to temporary housing supports to allow young people to continue to stay in their home past the age of 19 and until their 21st birthday.
When fully implemented, the new supports will be available to up to 10,000 eligible youth and young adults per year.
Over the next three years, this new system will:
- provide the ministry with a mandate to provide support up to a young person’s 27th birthday — extending the ministry’s mandate beyond the current limit of age 19;
- enhance and transform what is known as the Agreements with Young Adults program by:
- creating a no-limit earnings exemption that allows young adults to earn income on top of financial supplements;
- expanding eligibility so that all young people who have had at least 24 months in care between the ages of 12 and 19 can access support;
- maintaining flexible life skills and cultural programming options;
- expanding dental and medical benefits, including access to counselling;
- introduce new transition workers within the ministry and in Delegated Aboriginal Agencies to support early and ongoing transition planning, beginning at age 14, and help young people from care to navigate the new and existing government services until their 25th birthday;
- provide housing options by maintaining the current COVID-19 temporary emergency housing measures up to a young adult’s 21st birthday, allowing young adults to stay where they are living or transition to independence when they are ready. No age cap has been placed on these measures to provide stability to young adults through the COVID-19 public health emergency;
- provide young adults with rent supplements up to $600 per month on top of other income supports to help them secure safe, stable housing;
- provide young people from care with one year of financial support ($1,250 per month) until their 20th birthday, regardless of whether they are participating in programs; and
- continued support beyond that first year will be available for those who are participating in eligible programming until their 27th birthday, for a total of 84 months.
This on the BC Govt website go to the link here
Improving supports for youth and young adults transitioning from care