Government is contributing $250,000 to the Youth Futures Education Fund, which will be available to help cover expenses beyond tuition that may be a barrier to post-secondary education for former youth in care.
The fund was initiated in 2014 with a $200,000 investment by Coast Capital Savings, and is held in trust by the Vancouver Foundation.
Living expenses for a post-secondary student - including rent, utilities, food and transportation - are estimated at $10,000 for an eight-month school term, in addition to other significant costs, such as student fees and books. Many former children and youth who have been in care lack the traditional family supports that might help them overcome such financial obstacles.
The fund is intended to work in concert with existing programs. The Youth Education Assistance Fund, the Agreements with Young Adults program, Post-secondary Tuition Waivers and a number of cross-government services and supports are available to help youth transitioning from care pursue education or vocational training, and gain the life and work skills they need to become independent.
Details for the fund, including eligibility criteria and application procedures are being established by an advisory council with representation from:
- Coast Capital Savings Credit Union
- The BC Federation of Foster Parent Association
- The Federation of Aboriginal Foster Parents
- The Office of the Representative for Children and Youth
- The Ministry of Children and Family Development
- The Ministry of Advanced Education
- The BC Colleges consortium
- The BC Association of Institutes and Universities
- The Research Universities’ Council of BC
- The Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks
- The Public Guardian and Trustee
The announcement of government’s contribution to the Youth Futures Education Fund aligns with the spirit of B.C. Child and Youth in Care Week (June 1-8), which celebrates the individuality, accomplishments, resilience, talents and contributions of all B.C. children and youth in care, including youth engaged in out-of-care options, such as Youth Agreements. Increased awareness and recognition can help combat the negative stereotypes and social stigmas that many of these children and youth face.
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development -
“This government is proud to work with our partners in the social and private sectors to ensure young people have the tools and supports they need to give them the best chance when they transition to adulthood. This new fund will be a welcome complement to the range of services and supports that are available to help former children and youth in care achieve success.”
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Representative for Children and Youth -
“I am pleased to see today’s government contribution to the Youth Futures Education Fund and I encourage the private sector to step up and participate in this important initiative started by Coast Capital Savings. I am also happy to note that, to date, 10 B.C. post-secondary institutions have accepted my challenge and are now offering tuition-waiver programs for former youth in care. I call on all B.C. post-secondary schools to step forward. It is important to do all we can to help these youth to a brighter future.”
Don Coulter, president and CEO, Coast Capital Savings -
“We applaud the government for their contribution to this vitally important fund. Coast Capital’s community promise is to help build a richer future for youth in our community, and that is absolutely the aim of this fund.”
“We need to work together to help improve post-secondary participation for youth formerly in care. All young people deserve an opportunity to better their future, and investing in these youth is good for them, it is good for our communities and it is good for the future of our province.”
Kevin McCort, president and CEO, Vancouver Foundation -
“Vancouver Foundation is committed to strengthening the support systems available to youth as they leave government care and transition into adulthood. We know that getting a good education is about more than tuition and books - it's about creating and supporting a stable environment for students to thrive. The Youth Futures Education Fund helps ensure that young people leaving foster care can cover basic costs of living during their studies."
- 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 times, to assist with tuition, books and fees.
- Since the fund was created in 2002, the ministry has contributed $12.6 million to the program and more than 1,475 youth have received YEAF bursaries.
- Agreements with Young Adults provide financial assistance to youth formerly in care or on a Youth Agreement to upgrade their education or take part in a rehabilitative program.
- More than 1,950 young adults have benefited from Agreements with Young Adults since the program was established in 2008.
- On June 1, 2015, The Ministry of Children and Family Development along with the Adoptive Families Association of BC and the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks launched a new website, Agedout.com - https://agedout.com - with resources designed to help current and former youth in care with the transition to adulthood.
- On May 29, 2015, MCFD provided $315,000 to support the establishment of a youth and young adult mentorship program that will be delivered through Covenant House Vancouver.
- On May 22, 2015, MCFD provided a further $250,000 to extend and expand the YWCA’s Strive program, which offers underemployed former youth in care, between the ages of 17 and 24 years, with hands-on guidance in life skills like financial literacy, time management, decision-making and problem-solving that are key to living independently.
- Tuition waivers are now available at many B.C. post-secondary institutions for eligible students who have been in government care.
- Changes are being made to better serve vulnerable children and to streamline the implementation of the new BC Training and Education Savings Program (BCTESP) grant of $1,200 paid into a Registered Education Savings Plan to help families plan and save early for their education after high school. These changes will include the creation of a separate fund to provide for the training and educational needs of former children in care and other vulnerable children.
Youth Futures Education Fund: www.vancouverfoundation.ca/YouthFutures
B.C. Child and Youth in Care Week: www.bcchildandyouthincareweek.com
MCFD youth programs and services: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/youth/index.htm
Youth Education Assistance Fund: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/yeaf/index.htm
Covenant House Vancouver: www.covenanthousebc.org
Agreements with Young Adults: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/youth/aya.htm
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Children and Family Development