From April, 2022 to June 30th, 2022, Threshold Housing Society is bringing awareness to the ongoing issue of youth aging out of government care through an online campaign: Ready or Not Aging out of Care. In British Columbia, when a youth in government care turns 19 years old they often lose access to essential support services, such as their housing, social worker, mental health services, and financial support. Youth age out of care, whether they are ready or not – at an age that is often already challenging and stressful. This often leads to youth aging out of care without adequate support to transition to adulthood. Aging out of care without appropriate supports in place is often cited as a major risk factor contributing to future experiences of homelessness in adulthood and increased risk to illness, injury, assault, substance dependence, mental health issues, and death. In 2018, the B.C. Coroners Service report found youth leaving government care died at five times the rate of the general population of young people in British Columbia. In our community, there is an over representation of Indigenous people experiencing homelessness, which can be directly linked to the over representation of Indigenous youth in government care. This is an outcome resulting from the ongoing legacy of colonialism.
Due to the unprecedented times, we are living in, youth in BC have been granted a reprieve from aging out of care. This is an encouraging step in the right direction. More recently, hopeful changes have been announced towards impactful changes for youth in care. We acknowledge these actions by the government, however, there is still important work to be done to continue to strengthen supports for youth aging out of care.
Join us and help spread awareness.