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.
- 57% of homeless youth in some BC communities from care
- 53% turn 19 with a completed high school education
- Approximately 1000 youth age out every year
Youth hit a cliff at 19. Let’s change that.
Join the Fostering Change Community Organizers
Youth from care are experts on fixing policy and changing the practices to better the system. It’s why we’re assembling a team of incredible advocates with experience in the care system, supported by many of our allies. We’ll gain important political advocacy skills through professional, state of the art training and resources that will help us be strong catalysts for change. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis: sign one if you’re interested and a team member will be in touch.
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 government with recommendations for change.
That afternoon, a crowd of 200 youth and adult allies held a public rally outside the BC legislature to show government we stand for youth in care. See the videos and photos of the lunch and public rally on Facebook. Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy and BC Representative for Children and Youth Bernard Richard spoke at the rally. Premier John Horgan was among the many adult allies who gathered in support. Read our final report on Youth Policy Solutions Day 2017. In 2017, each of BC’s three political parties made some commitments to improve supports for youth transitioning out of government care. These promises need to be kept.
In 2018, the Fostering Change Community Organizers held another successful Policy Solutions Day. On October 24, we had the privilege of bringing over 45 youth to BC’s legislature in Victoria. This is a momentous time for child welfare in BC. We have keen listeners in decision making positions in government, reflected in the 25+ meetings we had with dozens of MLAs and other organization heads in Victoria. We assembled a policy memo, which is available here.
Youth who have lived and aged out of foster or government care are an important part of this work, and are warmly invited to contact us today to get involved.
First Call also publishes As Word Spreads, a podcast hosted by youth in and from foster care in BC, to amplify their voices and issues of concern, and increase understanding of our province’s foster care system. Interested in joining the podcast as a host, guest or producer? Reach out to us via email.
Don’t forget to check in regularly as this campaign grows and evolves!
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