VICTORIA— New Democrat children and families spokesperson, Melanie Mark, issued the following statement on Fostering Change’s “Opportunities in Transition” report about supporting youth in care past age 19:
“Every year hundreds of youth ‘age out’ of care.
“As Fostering Change rightfully notes in their report, ‘Opportunities in Transition’, these youth rarely have the kinds of supports that other young people rely on. While most youth who grew up in supportive family homes can rely on help with affordable housing and advice and guidance from caring adults, these supports are missing from the lives of most youth aging out of care.
“Instead of these supports, we know that half of youth aging out of care are relying on welfare and disability to get by. For many youth transitioning out of care, it’s a struggle just to survive – let alone thrive.
“The Christy Clark government has failed our most vulnerable youth. We see that with Paige Gauchier, we see that with Alex Gervais, we see that with Carly Fraser and with Chester. After years of reports and studies and recommendations – the supports that these youth needed to stay alive still aren’t in place for other children and youth in need.
“In Christy Clark’s B.C. youth in crisis are waiting more than 200 days to access mental health supports. In Christy Clark’s B.C. less than half of youth in care graduate high school before they are pushed out onto the streets.
“Youth shouldn’t be hitting a cliff when they turn 19. It’s clear that British Columbians want to see better supports put in place for youth aging out of care. It’s long past time for Christy Clark to do the right thing for vulnerable youth struggling to survive after leaving the care system.”