October 17, the BC government announced changes to the Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) program to allow more youth in care to access extended supports.
Previously, AYA was available for former youth in care from age 19 to 24. With this policy change, young people are now eligible to age 26 and can receive benefits for a longer period of time.
In this article in the Tyee, economist Marvin Shaffer welcomed the increase but says more is needed: “While an additional $5 million is welcome, it is a far cry short of what we recommended as an amount that would be needed to cover just basic living requirements.”
In the research report Shaffer co-authored with Lynell Anderson, they recommend:
“AYAs could be adapted to serve as the foundational program on which to deliver improved supports directly to youth aging out of care … [and] could be made continuously available to age 25.
“Eligibility criteria would have to be reviewed and adjusted to ensure that AYAs are broadly accessible to youth aging out of care, supporting them in their diverse efforts and needs to improve education and employment outcomes, build social supports and community connections, and address wellness issues. And the level of funding would have to be increased to provide for a reasonable standard of living as youth aging out of care transition to adulthood and independence.”
Join the call for full range of necessary supports by signing Fostering Change’s Write the Future petition