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Greetings from your SJD GVAT Housing Art representatives,  

“Marginalized to Magnified”, a report written by Katherine McParland was released by Jennifer Charlesworth, the Representative for Children and Youth in BC on February 21, 2020.  A single recommendation urged the government to “Develop a distinct plan to end homelessness and start implementing it by the end of the year.”  By mid December 2020, Charlesworth presented a follow up report on youth aging out of care that strongly calls for a system that includes “the automatic enrolment into the young adults program up to age 27 for youth from all types of government care in B.C.”  Full implementation of this recommendation is aimed for April, 2022.     

A year ago, the Housing ART committee voted to advocate for youth aging out of care so that they would receive support services while transitioning into adulthood. This support includes finding appropriate housing, job placement, post-secondary access, and life skills for vulnerable youth.  At present, the project to ask the BC provincial government to enact legislation that provides for transitional support for youth aging out of provincial care until age 27 is at the stage of requesting input from you.  Your volunteer help is needed in a letter writing campaign that will show the appropriate ministries that there is public support for such legislation.  Our team is hoping you will join our effort by sending an email letter to a few ministries. [See below for a list of the ministries with their email addresses.]

Here is some information that may help you formulate your letter:

  1. After one month of leaving foster care in B.C., 35% of young adults are homeless; after one year the numbers grow to 55%.  Providing a place to stay for young adults will help break the pattern of becoming homeless.
  2. Almost 50% of youth who have aged out of care require income assistance.  Providing job assistance will lead to employment.
  3. First Nation’s youth are 17 times more likely to be in care than non-indigenous youth even though indigenous youth represent 7% of the population of young Canadians according to Statistics Canada, 2011. Providing supportive programs for these vulnerable youth must be part of the Reconciliation process which is a response to the legacy of colonialism.
  4. Graduation from high school for youth in care is less than half the rate of their peers.  Providing years of transition will allow the youth coming out of care to have the option of continuing their studies in order to earn their high school diploma and now have the possibility to continue with post-secondary education.

Here are the government ministries that should be working together to create legislation that would provide for these years of transition for the youth aging out of care:

  • David Eby, Attorney General & Minister Responsible for Housing –
  • Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development –
  • Adrian Dix, Minister of Health -
  • Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –
  • Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions –
  • Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs –
  • Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General –
  • Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction –
  • Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care –

This list is lengthy but all these ministries need to have some of their staff work on a team that addresses the needs of youth aging out of care.  With cooperation, a motion could be drafted and sent to the legal department for the proper wording in order to get a bill passed into legislation.  I would like to see such a bill named after Katherine McParland as her legacy for all the advocacy that she had done to help homeless youth.  Sadly, she passed away on December 5, 2020 at age thirty-three.

On Tuesday, March 2, the Ontario provincial government announced placing a moratorium on youth aging out of care that extends care to September 30, 2022.  In the meantime, the government plans on designing a program that will meet the needs of these vulnerable youth.  In our letters we could recommend to the Ministry of Children and Family Development the extension of the current living arrangements for youth in care from March 2021 to a future time when a transition plan with support services is in place.  Extending the time in care will keep our vulnerable youth from becoming homeless.

If you have any questions, I’m an email away.  

Respectfully submitted,

Merle Wall,
Member of SJD, Housing ART GVAT team, & SJAG member


Photo by Ev on Unsplash