Children and youth enter foster care at any given age, but in British Columbia all youth in the system must ‘age out’ at 19.
When youth age out, the government services and supports they rely on in place of a family are simultaneously cut off. As a result:
- 57% of homeless youth in some BC communities have experience in care
- Only 53% of BC youth in care turn 19 with a completed high school education
- Approximately 1000 youth age out of care in BC every year
Youth hit a cliff at 19. Fostering Change wants to change that.
Join the Fostering Change Community Organizers
We, as youth from foster care, have lived expertise to fix policies and laws that affect lives, and change practices to better the system.
Join the team of incredible advocates! We are youth with experience in the care system. We gain important political advocacy skills in creative gatherings, workshops and actions, such as Policy Solutions Day, the 19th Birthday Celebration and the Listening Event. And we use these skills as our vehicle of change so we are able to share our lived expertise with the government in an intentional and safe way as we drive toward policy change. The policy change we want to see is that all youth are supported in all ways possible after leaving care.
Reach out to Susan Russell, Campaign Organizer, at email@example.com if you are interested in joining, know of a youth who wants to join, or have any questions!
First Call wants to see better policies that help every youth from care thrive. On October 24, 2017, First Call partnered with the Vancouver Foundation’s Fostering Change initiative to host a Youth Policy Solutions Day lunch with youth from care, allied supporters and MLAs. Youth presented their policy brief to the government with recommendations for change.
Then, in 2017, Primer John Horgan committed to “expand(ing) and improve(ing) supports to youth transitioning from care through the development of an action plan to be created by the Cross-Ministry working group”. Since that promise MCFD has been working on reimagining Agreements with Young Adults. We continue to urge all government sectors to push our ask through as it will benefit all youths’ wellness, safety and economic success now and in the future.
In Spring 2018, the Fostering Change campaign moved to First Call. We were chosen as the host of the project as we have the tools, skills, and resources to continue making a difference on these issues.
Since then, the campaign continues to focus on “asks” that will improve the lives of all youth leaving care in British Columbia. We highlight our core events that will help us reach that goal, happily introducing advocacy/skill-building workshops and semi-annual celebrations in the campaign calendar for 2020.
Check out our research and advocacy, for example by visiting our “Our Stories” blog posts about past and present campaign activities. And, check out the Opportunities in Transition report, which is packed full of information and solutions relative to youth leaving care.
Youth who have lived and aged out of foster or government care are an important part of this work. Contact us today to find out more and get involved.
Don’t forget to check in regularly as this campaign grows and evolves!
Policy Brief: Policy Solutions Day 2019, Fostering Change
Letter to Minister Katrine Conroy Calls for Equitable AYA Supports, Fostering Change
Opportunities in Transition, Fostering Change
Supporting youth ‘aging out’ of care in British Columbia: Recommendations for change and extended support, First Call and youth policy leaders
B.C. foster kids benefit from Vancouver Foundation’s foresight, Georgia Straight
Child Welfare and Youth Homelessness in Canada: A Proposal for Action, The Homeless Hub
Making Housing Central: An Affordable Housing Plan for BC, BC Non-Profit Housing Association
Striving for Permanence – Stories of Youth In and From Care, Speak-Out Youth Group/Adoptive Families Association of BC
Portraits of Connection, Housing Matters Media Project
Coming to Knowing: Study Circle Guide on Aging Out of Care in BC, Canadian Federation of University Women BC Council
2013 Adolescent Health Survey, McCreary Centre Society
YouthSpeak report 2016, Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks
First Year Report (2015-2016), Provincial Director of Child Welfare’s Youth Advisory Council/Ministry of Children and Family Development
Advocacy Achievements, The Mockingbird Society
Youth Advocacy Day Video 2011, The Mockingbird Society
25not21 campaign to extend foster care to age 25, 25not21/Manitoba
Indigenous Resilience, Connectedness and Reunification – From Root Causes to Root Solutions: A Report on Indigenous Child Welfare in British Columbia, Grand Chief Ed John/First Nations Summit
Fostering Change is made possible as a result of our funders; the Vancouver Foundation and the Vancity Community Foundation.