Jenni Johnson (right) and Jordie Lynn both have aged out of the foster system, which they say leaves youths ill-prepared for life on their own feet. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

A Way Home

A WAY HOME: Ministry responds to criticism of foster system

Ministry says number of youth in system is shrinking, more being done to help youth transition

A Way Home - How to help. Photo illustration.
Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

How to help:

It’s the giving season, and as we roll out our series on Abbotsford’s homeless population, many people may be wondering: How can I help?

Click on the image above to be taken to our “How to take action” page for more information.

This is part of Finding A Way Home – tales of love, connection and relationships on the streets.

The Ministry of Children and Family Development did not respond to questions about the foster system in time for the print version of Part Five of Finding A Way Home.

Here is what the ministry had to say:

“Youth in government care deserve every opportunity to successfully transition into adulthood,” the ministry said in an email statement.

“Through a variety of government programs and partnerships, the Province offers resources that help young people from care moving into adulthood acquire additional life skills, education and financial supports. The Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) is making programs and services more inclusive with greater flexibility to ensure youth have easy access to the rights supports when they are required.”

RELATED: ‘It’s like a trap; it’s like they don’t want you to succeed’

The ministry also pointed to a $30-million investment over three years to enhance and expand the Agreements with Young Adults program to “meet the growing demand as more young people become eligible to participate in the program.” AYA was altered to extend to those aged 27, increasing the maximum monthly allotment and making AYA a year-round program.

The ministry says it is engaging with youths formerly in the foster system to identify potential changes to assist in transitioning from the system and reviewing the AYA program.

Another $6 million was earmarked over three years to fund the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program, which would be available for eligible youths formerly in the system up to the age of 27 to get free tuition at any of B.C.’s post-secondary schools.

On foster homes, the ministry says, “All children and youth in care deserve to live in a home that meets their needs and provides safety and security. Placement stability is a key performance measure for the ministry, and is tracked and reported on annually.”

However, the ministry said that some placement changes are necessary and can be beneficial to “ensure the right fit,” but added “generally avoiding or minimizing moves while in care is an important goal.”

MCFD provided some statistics as of March 2018.

During the first 12 months in care:

  • 65% of youth in the system did not change placement
  • 25% moved once
  • 10% moved two or more times

“Situations where children and youth have moved two or more times in a year are flagged and the required care plans are updated to help stabilize and establish permanency.”

In its email statement, MCFD said the province focuses on prevention and collaboration to keep children and youth from going into the foster system in the first place, adding that B.C. has the lowest number of children and youth in the system since 1995.

This year, around 6,450 children and youth are in the system in B.C., which MCFD notes is 400 fewer than last year, with over 4,100 of those Indigenous, a drop of 200 over the previous year. The ministry touted that as “the lowest number of Indigenous children and youth in care since 2014.”

“After receiving supports, almost 90% of all children in need of protection are able to continue living safely with their families. This number is almost 85% for Indigenous children and youth.”

Finding a way home
Infogram

Report an error or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

HomelessHomelessnessHousing and Homelessness

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RBSS students decorate a parking stall at the school as part of the Paint the Parking Lot project. (Facebook)
2021 Robert Bateman grads ‘Paint the Parking Lot’

RBSS students decorate Abbotsford school’s parking lot for a good cause

The Mennonite Heritage Museum on Clearbrook Road in Abbotsford.
Mennonite Historical Society in Abbotsford seeks input for storytelling project

Digital project asks for stories about living during COVID-19’s ‘changing times’

The city is considering easing the requirements for neighbourhoods to get traffic calming devices like raised crosswalks installed on their local roads.
PHOTO: City of Abbotsford agenda package
City may make it easier for Abbotsford residents to get speed humps on local roads

City staff suggests easing criteria for roads to qualify for traffic-calming measures

The HOME Society, currently located at 31581 South Fraser Way in Abbotsford, is moving locations after 25 years.
HOME Society in Abbotsford to move locations after 25 years

Move being done to accommodate growth, says executive director

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers and COVID-19 contact tracers must stop, Chilliwack soccer club says

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Sex offender who viewed underage girls as slaves has prohibitions cut from 20 to 10 years

Appeal court reviewed the case of Kyler Bryan David Williams, 29

Ranil Prasad saw this poster near Surrey Central SkyTrain station on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. He said it expressed “some specific reference to white replacement theory.” (Photo: Ranil Prasad/@run_neil/Twitter)
Surrey man urges public to watch out for ‘white replacement theory’ posters

Ranil Prasad said he saw the messaging at a Surrey SkyTrain station

The B.C. Teacher Regulation Branch has issued a decision about the actions of an elementary school teacher in Langley. (Langley Advance Times files)
Langley elementary teacher suspended for grabbing, shoving, yelling at kids

Roxann Rojas will lose her legal authority to teach for two weeks from Oct. 25 to Nov. 7, 2020

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Lawrence Nadessan, 44, was last seen on Oct. 24 at 11:30 p.m. in Maple Ridge.
Maple Ridge man missing since Saturday is extremely out of character, family says

Cameras saw him leaving home, not dressed for the weather

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Most Read