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.

Just Posted

Submitted photo of Town Park C Block apartment fire.
Apartment fire in Port Hardy forces residents to jump from building

‘Multiple people were transported to the hospital with injuries from falling’

The new Malahat Skywalk is expected to be completed by this summer. (Submitted graphic)
Malahat Skywalk expected to be complete by this summer

$15-million project will see 650-metre elevated wooden pathway constructed

Sidney Pier was one of two sites in Sidney as the Netflix series Maid shot in Sidney in late 2020. The show starring Margaret Qualley was one of 38 productions shooting in Greater Victoria. (Bob Orchard/Submitted)
Head of Greater Victoria film commission warns of lost economic opportunity

Kathleen Gilbert said without full funding, region will not be able to attract productions

A senior official with Victoria International Airport says the airport is still researching COVID-19 testing regimes but predicts testing and screening will remain part of the aviation industry even after vaccines have rolled out. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria International Airport researching COVID-19 testing options

Senior official predicts ‘screening and testing will be around long after the vaccination rollout’

Rethinking shopping for a more resilient future. Black Press file photo.
Rethinking shopping for a more resilient future

The last year was a wake up call. The environmental crisis, systemic… Continue reading

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Duncan Christian School will be closed from Jan. 25 to Feb. 1 due to COVID-19 precautionary measures. (Citizen file)
Duncan Christian School, DogHouse Restaurant close doors due to COVID

Voluntary temporary closures announced as precautions

Victoria Police Department vehicles outside the headquarters building. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria attack leaves victim with life-altering injuries

Victoria police looking for witnesses, information in Bastion Square incident

A Sooke woman is speaking up after she was almost tricked by a lottery scam, claiming she had won $950,000 with Set for Life Lottery. (File Photo)
‘I wanted it to be true so badly’: Sooke senior narrowly avoids lottery scam

88-year-old received letter stating she had won $950,000

Sequoia Coastal Coffee, the first coffee shop in Colwood’s Royal Bay neighbourhood, is temporarily closed after an employee tested positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 16. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood coffee shop shuts down after employee tests positive for COVID-19

Sequoia Coastal Coffee closed since Saturday, Jan. 16

The Songhees Wellness Centre is a symbol of First Nations strength in the region. Representatives of local First Nations will soon play a greater role in decision making and governance relating to the Capital Regional District. (Courtesy Royal Roads University)
Capital Regional District to add First Nations representatives to advisory committees

Board approves bylaw, looks forward to Indigenous input on future decisions

A pine siskin is treated for salmonella poisoning at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) hospital, in Merville. Photo by Gylaine Anderston.
Salmonella poisoning in birds and pets a result of unclean bird feeders

Animal advocates warn risk even extending to cats

B.C. driver’s licence and identity cards incorporate medical services, but the passport option for land crossings is being phased out. (B.C. government)
B.C. abandons border ID cards built into driver’s licence

$35 option costing ICBC millions as demand dwindles

BC Emergency Health Services has deployed the Major Incident Response Team (MIRRT) as COVID-19 positive cases rise in the Williams Lake region. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
B.C.’s rapid response paramedics deployed to Williams Lake as COVID-19 cases climb

BC Emergency Health Services has sent a Major Incident Rapid Response Team to the lakecity

Most Read