Foster parents, adoptive caregivers, extended family members caring for children and Community Living BC (CLBC) home-share providers will each receive a boost in support payments – the first increase in 10 years – to make life more affordable and provide more support to some of B.C.'s most-vulnerable children and adults.
“Caregivers open their homes and hearts to children and adults who need their support,” said Premier John Horgan. “For 10 years, the cost of living has steadily increased while caregiver rates have stagnated. Our government is making different choices by increasing support rates for caregivers, to make life more affordable and build stronger, more inclusive communities.”
Budget 2019 provides approximately $64 million over three years to the Ministry of Children and Family Development and $45 million over three years to the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction to boost monthly caregiver rates.
“I have met with so many foster parents and family caregivers, especially grandmothers, who have been struggling to provide for the children in their care. Their stories resonated with me and I knew this was the right thing to do,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “The most important thing is that children are raised in a safe, loving home, and I am proud to be part of a government that is addressing a long-standing inequity for extended families, especially Indigenous families, and investing in the well-being of all children when they need it most.”
For family members caring for children through the Extended Family Program, support will nearly double and will be paid at the same rate as foster caregivers. This increase is part of government’s commitment to meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and addresses recommendations by Grand Chief Ed John.
“I am pleased the B.C. government is taking steps to address this key recommendation of my report, which identified the disparity between the caregiver rates and extended family rates as being a clear barrier to permanency for many children in care,” said Grand Chief Ed John. “Bringing these rates in line will undoubtedly lead to both an increase of permanent placements as well as an increased quality of care for children placed with extended family members. This is especially important for Indigenous children in care as it will result in greater opportunities for placements with extended family within their communities, thereby maintaining access to their culture and language.”
Budget 2019 will provide foster parents with an additional $179 each month to help cover basic necessities for children in their care, including food, shelter and clothing.
Eligible adoptive parents, many of them adding children with special needs and/or sibling groups to their families, will receive an additional $105 to $120 per month for post-adoption assistance to help meet increases in the costs of living.
“This announcement is a wonderful acknowledgement of the work that foster parents and other caregivers do to emotionally and financially support children and youth in B.C.,” said Russell Pohl, a long-time foster and adoptive parent. “It’s good to know that this government is looking out for us and valuing our contribution.”
Community Living BC home-share provider rates are based on the individual needs of the person in care. The $45 million in funding over three years is a 15% increase for the program. After 10 years without an increase in home-share provider funding, CLBC is updating the program rate structure to better align with the disability-related needs of each individual.
“Home-share promotes social inclusion and helps keep people with developmental disabilities connected to their communities,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Over the last year, we have engaged with individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to look closely at CLBC supports and plot a new vision for the next 10 years. This increase recognizes the important work of home-share providers. It is long overdue, well deserved and one more step in the work we are doing with the community to create a truly accessible and inclusive province.”
CLBC will be working with home-share providers over the next few weeks to work through the details. The rate increases will vary under the new rate structure, but all home share providers will receive an increase over the next two years.
In 2018, CLBC engaged with home-share providers to find out how government can better support them in their vital work. The primary concern reported was low rates, which had not kept up with rising household costs and growing demand for the program.
Rate increases for Ministry of Children and Family Development caregivers will come into effect April 1, 2019.
For a breakdown of caregiver rate increases by caregiver type, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/maintenance_rate_increases_by_care_category.pdf
A backgrounder follows.