Government’s goal is to ensure that young people leaving care lead healthy, productive lives and that the appropriate supports are in place as they transition into adulthood. British Columbia matches or exceeds the types of supports and services other jurisdictions offer to youth leaving care.
- Under the Agreements with Young Adult program (AYA), youth who leave government care at 19 years of age are eligible for supports to cover living expenses while they finish high school, attend post-secondary training or complete a rehabilitation program. AYA was recently expanded from two to four years and to include life skills training and cover youth up to the age of 26. Previously, youth were covered up to the age of 24. More than 2,500 young adults have benefited from AYA since the program was established in 2008: http://ow.ly/qfkb307aBlX.
- The following initiatives were recently announced to keep current and former youth in care informed and connected, including:
- Smart phones and monthly data plans for up to 1,000 young adults, thanks to a $2-million fund jointly administered by the Province and TELUS.
- New Lenova laptops for up to 369 young adults as a result of partnership between the Province and IBM. Youth on an AYA will also have access to high-speed Internet subsidized by TELUS.
- AgedOut.com, an online resource that offers support to youth in care, features two new e-learning modules – ‘Money Sense’ and ‘Healthy Eating on a Budget.’ The new modules were developed in partnership with the Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC) and the Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT) with input from former youth in care. MCFD has invested a total of $700,000 in https://agedout.com
- ICBC is funding a $50,000 bursary to help youth in care learn to drive, in partnership with the government and the Federation of B.C. Youth in Care Networks (FBCYICN). The bursary will fund driver training and support for at least 50 young adults from around B.C. over the coming year.
- Government has provided $797,000 over the last three years to support the YWCA’s Strive program, which offers 17- to 24-year-old former youth in care hands-on guidance in life skills like financial literacy, time management, decision making and problem solving.
- Since June 2015, government has invested $2.5 million in the Learning Fund for Young Adults, which supports the vocational and training needs of young people from care. Government will transfer a further $1,200 from the BC Training and Education Saving Grant program’s special account for every child or youth in care after they reach the age of six.
- Eleven B.C. post-secondary institutions now offer tuition waivers or bursaries to former youth in care. Bursary or waiver recipients may also be eligible for the Youth Futures Education Fund, which helps cover expenses beyond tuition. Government has provided $500,000 over the past two years to support the fund.
- As part of the Province’s $500-million affordable housing announcement in September 2016, new housing for vulnerable youth will be built in Surrey, Chilliwack and Courtenay.
- In June 2015, a new nine-storey supportive housing building opened in Vancouver, providing 99 homes for vulnerable youth and young adults as well as supports and services for mental and physical health, addiction and living skills. Government provided $18.8 million for this development, and will continue to support it with an annual operating subsidy of $1.4 million. MCFD contributed $6 million toward this project.
- In May 2015, MCFD provided $315,000 to support the establishment of a youth and young adult mentorship program delivered through Covenant House Vancouver.
- These recent investments complement the range of existing supports and services that help young people from care transition to independence.
Other programs, services and resources for youth and young adults in and from care:
- The Youth Educational Assistance Fund (YEAF) supports post-secondary education and training for former youth in care through bursaries of $5,500 per educational year, up to a maximum of four years, to help with tuition, books and fees. Since the fund was created in 2002, the ministry has contributed $14.6 million to the program and more than 1,800 youth have received YEAF bursaries. As well, there are other bursaries and funding streams, such as the Education Achievement Bursary – offered through the (FBCYICN) – that help with tuition and registration fees.
- MCFD works closely with FBCYICN, which provides support, transition and advocacy services to youth in – and from – care, and youth receiving ministry services.
- The ministry also links youth with other services such as financial supports, employment services, therapeutic and addictions programs through other ministries.
- The ministry is an active partner in government's continuing efforts to create better transitions for youth/young adults with developmental disabilities through the Services to Adults with Developmental Disabilities Initiative.
- MCFD works with other ministries to deliver an array of programs and services that support youth transitioning from care. These include housing options, addictions counselling and education assistance.
Media RelationsMinistry of Children and Family Development