Mid-June, First Call sent a letter to Premier Christy Clark in support of the recommendations in the report On Their Own: Examining the Needs of BC Youth as They Leave Government Care, released April 2014 by Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, the BC representative for children and youth.
“These are thoughtful, well-founded recommendations that, if acted upon by your government, would help move BC’s support for youth leaving care from piecemeal and insufficient to a more systematic approach which respects these young people’s rights and recognizes their potential,” writes First Call provincial coordinator Adrienne Montani.
In this letter, First Call urged Premier Clark to:
- Establish a youth secretariat within the Ministry of Children and Family Development
- Mandate and strengthen education planning and skills-training pathways for every youth in care
- Build a “durable policy foundation” for youth programs/services in BC, including legislative amendments to extend foster care for some youth up to age 25 and support a Youth Leaving Care Act
- Hold public hearings on youth leaving care and out-of-home placements
First Call also affirmed that investing in children in care – including the 700 youth who age out of the system each year – is not only the right thing to do but also cost effective.