OUR VIEW: It’s time to give foster youth a safety net as they transition

In B.C., kids in government care are abruptly cut off support at 19. The province must change this – before we lose any more young lives.

A 19-year-old First Nations woman

Leaders of the First Nations Summit are once again calling on the province to bring in changes to better support children aging out of government care after a 19-year-old aboriginal woman was found dead in a rain soaked Surrey tent last week.

The woman, who has not been identified, was found dead in a tent near King George Boulevard and 132nd St. on Nov. 30.

There have been several high-profile deaths of young people in B.C. who have aged out or who were approaching their 19th birthdays, including Paige Gauchier and Alex Gervais. Gervais died while he was living (against child welfare rules) in a hotel, after his group home was shut down.

The FNS Chiefs in Assembly passed a resolution in February 2015 calling on the provincial government to raise the age of 19 to 25 to address the “distressing issue” and to “help avert similar deaths from taking place in the future.”

It’s too bad nobody listened at the time – the young woman might still be alive.

FNS wants to see an “Aging Out Plan” be required for each youth as they near their 19th birthday as well as a “youth transition team” under the umbrella of the Ministry of Children and Family Development to offer supports.

The FNS notes that youth aging out of care have an increased risk of homelessness, school incompletion, unemployment, poverty and dependence on income assistance.

It’s hard to argue with the fact that youth lack a safety net after losing their social workers and financial support on their 19th birthday.

In B.C., at 19, kids in government care are abruptly cut off government support.

The province must change this – and now – before we lose any more young lives.

The Now

Just Posted

Heritage Surrey launches time-lapse mapping tool

It matches local historical images to modern-day locations

UPDATE: Delta man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside North Delta elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Surrey RCMP asks for public’s help finding missing 52-year-old

Police say William Michaels last seen on Feb. 19

Private school for hockey players pitched for Surrey’s Excellent Ice arena

Lark Group draws up expansion plan for facility built and operated by the Surrey company since 1999

From a drunk judge to Clifford Olson: George Garrett recounts a life in B.C. news radio

New book from ‘Intrepid Reporter’ George Garrett offers readers a glimpse behind the headlines

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

Two boys saved after falling through ice in Coquitlam

RCMP say a Good Samaritan pulled the kids to safety

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Most Read