Victoria – Youth in care will not age out of services during the COVID-19 pandemic and those who have recently aged out will get extra assistance.
“During these uncertain times, youth deserve our steady, consistent support to help them through,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “We don’t want anyone to fall through the cracks, so we’ve taken emergency steps to ensure young people in and from care can continue getting the services they count on.”
Youth and young adults from care will continue receiving the same level of service during the pandemic, even if they were set to age out. This enables extra stability and support for young people who might otherwise face housing, educational and employment uncertainty. Youth currently living in foster care, contracted residential agencies or with relatives through the extended family program will be able to stay where they are. Social workers are modifying agreements to allow youth and caregivers to extend their current living arrangements once a youth reaches 19 years old.
Young adults between the ages of 19 and 27 who are enrolled in the Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) program will continue to receive financial support despite school closures and other training program interruptions caused by the current pandemic. If applicable, these young adults may also be eligible to receive an extension of AYA support beyond the current maximum of 48 months. Youth who are nearing the end of an Independent Living or Youth agreement will be given options allowing them to continue receiving monthly living expenses past their 19th birthday. Social workers are contacting youth to guide them through this process.
Additional efforts will be made to locate young adults who have recently aged out of care to connect them to other lines of available support, like the B.C. Emergency Benefit for workers and the Federal Emergency Care Benefit.
These interim measures further complement government’s $5-billion COVID-19 Action Plan to provide income supports, tax relief and direct funding for people, businesses and services.
Nick Lang was a 15 year old youth who died in care.(The BC Coroner stated that he died from a “choking game in a care facility”. That happened in 2015 and the report came out in 2016. He would have turned 20 on March 28.
His dad Peter, lives in Chilliwack and is an advocate for at risk youth in care. He told FVN: It’s really nice to see a government quickly respond to the needs of youth. Im sure this will help some youth be less anxious about “aging out” or not receiving support while in school. We’ve come a long way in a short period of time when we look at how we are supporting our youth, but I hope we also don’t forget about youth that may still be living with a parent / relative and may also be in need of some sort of support, like counselling or addiction treatment. These services should still be accessible during this pandemic, even if it is through a different means, like Zoom or Skype.
For information on B.C.’s COVID-19 Action Plan and other government resources and updates, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/covid19
For non-medical related information on COVID-19, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/covid19
Or call: 1 888 COVID-19
For medical-related information on COVID-19, visit: www.bccdc.ca
Or call: 811