Perseverance, strength and resilience - these are the traits of B.C.’s children and youth in care.
This Child and Youth in Care Week (June 1-7, 2015), the Province encourages all British Columbians to celebrate the achievements of these inspirational individuals by attending one of the many recognition events happening throughout B.C.
During Child and Youth in Care Week in B.C., communities, organizations and the B.C. government will host a range of events to bring people together and recognize the incredible accomplishments of the province’s children and youth in government care. There are many fun family events and activities planned in communities around B.C. for the week, including an ice-cream social on June 2 in Victoria, a baseball game on June 4 in Prince George, and a powwow in Vancouver on June 6. To find out more about events taking place in your community, visit: www.bcchildandyouthincareweek.com/events.html or contact your local Ministry of Children and Family Development office.
Now in its fifth year, B.C. Child and Youth in Care Week was first proclaimed by the Province in 2011. Youth in and from government care advocated for this week to celebrate the talents and accomplishments of all of the young people in care and show them that their communities and fellow British Columbians support them, stand beside them, and recognize the obstacles they have had to overcome to not only survive, but to thrive. This week is about ending the stigma that comes with being a foster kid and understanding the unique successes and individuality of every child and youth in care.
B.C. Child and Youth in Care Week is a joint partnership between the Ministry of Children and Family Development, the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks, the Adoptive Families Association of BC, the BC Federation of Aboriginal Foster Parents, the BC Federation of Foster Parents Associations, the Public Guardian and Trustee of BC and the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres.
Minister of Children and Family Development, Stephanie Cadieux ─
“It is an unfortunate reality that children and youth in care often face more challenges and obstacles than many of their friends. These young people have overcome difficult and sometimes traumatic experiences in their lives and yet they continue to persevere. This Child and Youth in Care Week, join me in celebrating the ingenuity, courage and contributions of all of these amazing kids.”
Executive director, Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks, Jules Wilson ─
“We're proud to celebrate the fifth BC Child and Youth in Care Week — an idea our members proposed to engage the broader community in fighting the misinformed ‘foster kid’ stigma, celebrate their diversity and accomplishments, and raise awareness about their barriers. We’re also excited about the AgedOut.com launch, providing much-needed support to transitioning youth. Like all young people, those in and from care need support from their community to become the amazing people they want to be, and it's our collective responsibility to stand with them so they can.”
- Foster care provides a safe, nurturing and stable home for children when they are not able to live with their family. It is intended to be temporary, with the goal of reuniting a child with their families wherever possible.
- As of Dec. 2014, B.C. had approximately 8,300 children in care, with close to 5,800 of those placed with just over 3,200 foster families across the province.
- Approximately 4,400 Aboriginal children are in care, which make up approximately 53% of the total caseload.
- Children come into foster care for many reasons:
- Some children are in care through voluntary agreements with parents or guardians who are experiencing difficulties. The parents may ask for temporary help because of illness, marital problems or parent/child conflicts. Parents may ask the ministry to provide specialized care for a child who has physical or mental difficulties, or emotional or behavioural problems that are beyond the family’s ability to handle.
- Many children are in care because there are no other options to protect them from abuse in their own homes. They are in care by court order because of emotional, physical or sexual abuse, or neglect.
- Others may have parents who have passed away without naming a parent or guardian.
- In addition to securing temporary or permanent placements for children and youth who cannot live with their parents or extended family, the ministry funds a range of youth services that include outreach workers, youth support workers, youth and family mediation, guardianship, safe house and emergency shelter beds, transitional housing, Youth Agreements, and support services for sexually exploited youth.
- Youth Agreements are legal agreements between the ministry and youth aged 16 to 18 years who are in need of assistance. These agreements help support the youth in their transition to adulthood through an individualized plan for independence, which often includes setting goals to find a safe place to live, return to school, and/or gain work experience and life skills.
- The ministry continues to support former youth in care, aged 19 to 24 years, with their independence goals through the Youth Education Assistance Fund and the Agreements with Young Adults programs.
- Twitter hashtags being used as part of the week’s celebrations include: #BCCYICW #youthincareareawesome #standwithyouthincare #jointhevillage
Learn more about B.C. Child and Youth in Care Week: www.bcchildandyouthincareweek.com/
Learn more about the Federation of B.C. Youth in Care Networks: www.fbcyicn.ca
Learn more about the Adoptive Families Association of BC: https://www.bcadoption.com/
Learn more about the B.C. Federation of Aboriginal Foster Parents: http://www.fafp.ca/
Learn more about the B.C. Federation of Foster Parents Associations: http://bcfosterparents.ca/
Learn more about the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres: http://www.bcaafc.com/
Learn more about the Public Guardian and Trustee of BC: http://www.trustee.bc.ca
To find out more about the Youth Education Assistance Fund, go to: http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/yeaf/index.htm
To find out more about Agreements with Young Adults, visit: http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/youth/aya.htm
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Children and Family Development