Jennifer Charlesworth, British Columbia’s representative for children and youth, is seen in Victoria on December 10, 2018. In its latest report, Charlesworth’s office is once again calling on the province to improve its support system for youth transitioning out of government care after they turn 19 years old. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dirk Meissner

Jennifer Charlesworth, British Columbia’s representative for children and youth, is seen in Victoria on December 10, 2018. In its latest report, Charlesworth’s office is once again calling on the province to improve its support system for youth transitioning out of government care after they turn 19 years old. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dirk Meissner

B.C. must improve supports for youth ‘aging out’ of government care: watchdog report

About 850 young people transition out of care every year in B.C.

B.C.’s representative for children and youth is calling on the province to improve its support system for youth transitioning out of government care after they turn 19.

The report from Jennifer Charlesworth’s office says the current system “virtually shapes a life of poverty” for vulnerable youth in the province.

About 850 young people transition out of care every year and her report says supports for them are “notoriously scarce, inequitable, rigid and a poor fit.”

It says the provincial government’s temporary measures in response to the pandemic demonstrate that it can act quickly to make the kind of changes advocates have long been calling for.

The report points to numerous problems with the program that provides aged-out youth with up to $15,000 a year for four years, as long as they’re going to school or participating in a life skills or rehabilitation program.

The representative’s report makes recommendations including the automatic enrolment into the young adults program up to age 27 for youth from all types of government care in B.C.

The report says less than 10 per cent of eligible young adults were receiving money under the young adults program as of March and there are significant disparities in access based on gender, race, region and education level.

The government says it has expanded the eligibility criteria to include a wider range of options for life skills and rehabilitation programs until September 2021.

Charlesworth’s office is calling for lasting changes, recommending the creation of a provincewide system of dedicated transition workers through community agencies to provide support for these young people up to age 27.

In response to the pandemic, B.C.’s Ministry of Children and Family Development is allowing youth turning 19 to stay in their current living arrangements until next March, the report says, while youth who are receiving funding after transitioning out of care may continue to get the money until next September, even if their eligibility status changes.

Mitzi Dean, minister of children and family development, responded to the report in a statement, saying services for youth in care who were transitioning into adulthood were non-existent or inadequate for many years and while the province has come a long way, there’s more to do.

“I am committed to this work and to joining forces with youth and our colleagues and partners throughout the social sector to create a system that does not just provide young people from care with the bare minimum to survive, but rather creates a better system that supports them to excel, pursue their goals and reach their full potential.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

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

Just Posted

Abbotsford’s Conair Group Inc. made a big purchase recently to continue creating new firefighter airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair expanding fleet of firefighting airtankers

Local group creating new Q400AT planes to fight wildfires across the globe

Letisha Reimer died Nov. 1, 2016 after being stabbed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
No evidence that killer was in ‘psychotic state’ during Abbotsford school stabbing: Crown

Second day of closing arguments at ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing for Gabriel Klein

Wind takes down power lines in Abbosford. (Amanda B. Macchioni photo)
SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford wind storm pictures

User submitted images of the aftermath following Tuesday’s storm

Prolific offender Jonathan David Olson (left) and Brodie Tyrel Robinson, both of Chilliwack, were convicted of several offences in BC Supreme Court in August 2019 in connection to a crime spree on the Canada Day long weekend in 2017.
Chilliwack gangster sentenced to 11.5 years in prison for 2017 crime spree

Jonathan Olson involved in shooting a fellow crime associate in the head

Pete Ryan, known all over the world for his chainsaw carvings, died on Friday, Jan. 8. He was 70 years old. (Contributed Photo/Dignity Memorial)
Iconic Hope chainsaw carver Pete Ryan has passed away

Ryan is a founding member of Hope’s famous chainsaw carving community

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. find its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials says it will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in 60 B.C. First Nations by next week

B.C. has allocated 25,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations for distribution by the end of February

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone questions the NDP government in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 25, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Todd Stone says he’s not running for B.C. Liberal leadership

Kamloops MLA was widely viewed as a front-runner

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Wireless voice and data services are out for those on Telus as of Thursday (Jan. 14) afternoon across Western Canada, Telus Support said in a recent Tweet. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATE: Telus services restored across Western Canada

Telus said they are monitoring the situation to ensure connections remain stable

Most Read