Jennifer Charlesworth, British Columbia’s representative for children and youth, is seen in Victoria on December 10, 2018. In its latest report, Charlesworth’s office is once again calling on the province to improve its support system for youth transitioning out of government care after they turn 19 years old. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dirk Meissner

Jennifer Charlesworth, British Columbia’s representative for children and youth, is seen in Victoria on December 10, 2018. In its latest report, Charlesworth’s office is once again calling on the province to improve its support system for youth transitioning out of government care after they turn 19 years old. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dirk Meissner

B.C. must improve supports for youth ‘aging out’ of government care: watchdog report

About 850 young people transition out of care every year in B.C.

B.C.’s representative for children and youth is calling on the province to improve its support system for youth transitioning out of government care after they turn 19.

The report from Jennifer Charlesworth’s office says the current system “virtually shapes a life of poverty” for vulnerable youth in the province.

About 850 young people transition out of care every year and her report says supports for them are “notoriously scarce, inequitable, rigid and a poor fit.”

It says the provincial government’s temporary measures in response to the pandemic demonstrate that it can act quickly to make the kind of changes advocates have long been calling for.

The report points to numerous problems with the program that provides aged-out youth with up to $15,000 a year for four years, as long as they’re going to school or participating in a life skills or rehabilitation program.

The representative’s report makes recommendations including the automatic enrolment into the young adults program up to age 27 for youth from all types of government care in B.C.

The report says less than 10 per cent of eligible young adults were receiving money under the young adults program as of March and there are significant disparities in access based on gender, race, region and education level.

The government says it has expanded the eligibility criteria to include a wider range of options for life skills and rehabilitation programs until September 2021.

Charlesworth’s office is calling for lasting changes, recommending the creation of a provincewide system of dedicated transition workers through community agencies to provide support for these young people up to age 27.

In response to the pandemic, B.C.’s Ministry of Children and Family Development is allowing youth turning 19 to stay in their current living arrangements until next March, the report says, while youth who are receiving funding after transitioning out of care may continue to get the money until next September, even if their eligibility status changes.

Mitzi Dean, minister of children and family development, responded to the report in a statement, saying services for youth in care who were transitioning into adulthood were non-existent or inadequate for many years and while the province has come a long way, there’s more to do.

“I am committed to this work and to joining forces with youth and our colleagues and partners throughout the social sector to create a system that does not just provide young people from care with the bare minimum to survive, but rather creates a better system that supports them to excel, pursue their goals and reach their full potential.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Beef to the person in the little car who tailgates me with high beams along Kilpatrick and Jingle Pot in the morning and lays on the horn when I turn left onto East Wellington. If following the speed limit is not going to get you where you are going on time please do not take it out on me. May I suggest you leave a bit sooner.
Beefs & Bouquets, Jan. 27

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

(News Bulletin file)
COVID-19 affects student enrolment and funding for Nanaimo school district

More distance-ed students leads to yet-to-be divvied out money, says SD68 secretary-treasurer

An Island Health graph showing COVID-19 cases in the central Island by local health area between Dec. 27 and Jan. 23. (Island Health image)
Central Island’s COVID-19 case spike shifting, says Island Health

Cowichan Valley has seen the highest number of cases, but Nanaimo and south Island seeing upticks

Cash and drugs allegedly found in a suspect’s possession following an arrest earlier this month in downtown Nanaimo. (Photo submitted)
Accused drug dealer arrested in downtown Nanaimo carrying $20,000, fentanyl, crack and meth

Terrance Virus, 39, being held in custody, scheduled to appear in court Feb. 1

Letter writers weigh in on Nanaimo’s animal responsibility bylaw that will control roaming cats. (Stock photo)
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Bylaw will lead to cat abandonment

Letter writer foresees SPCA and pound will be overrun with cats that can’t be trained to a leash

An Island Health graph showing COVID-19 cases in the central Island by local health area between Dec. 27 and Jan. 23. (Island Health image)
Central Island’s COVID-19 case spike shifting, says Island Health

Cowichan Valley has seen the highest number of cases, but Nanaimo and south Island seeing upticks

This coming Thursday, Jan. 28, is Bell Let’s Talk Day, and conversations about mental health would serve many of us well as the pandemic persists. (Zackary Drucker/The Gender Spectrum Collection)
Editorial: Let’s talk about our mental health in a pandemic

Bell Let’s Talk Day is Thursday, Jan. 28

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Worker at Swartz Bay terminal on Monday, January 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Former BC Ferries employee alleges he was fired because of his race

Imraan Goondiwala has been granted a BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing

A concrete seawall built to prevent erosion on a property on Driftwood Drive on Mudge Island. (Islands Trust image)
Appeal Court says Mudge Island homeowners’ seawall has to go

Court decides right to guard against erosion isn’t a ‘privileged’ property right

B.C. Ferries is in the midst of gathering support from local governments for a plan that would fully electrify Island-class ferries. A pair of hybrid ferries are slated for the Gabriola-downtown Nanaimo ferry route for 2022. (News Bulletin file)
Hybrid vessels just a start as B.C. Ferries works toward fully electric sailings on Gabriola route

Ferry corporation seeking support from local governments for electrification plan

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

Most Read