“Every young person should have people in their life that they can count on unconditionally and interdependently. Youth in care need to feel that they belong, have worth and are valuable members of their communities”
EQUITABLE STANDARDS FOR TRANSITIONS TO ADULTHOOD FOR YOUTH IN CARE – Pillar 4
It is no secret that stable housing is a key pillar in successful outcomes for youth. Census data from 2016 shows that nearly two-thirds (62.7%) of youth aged 20-24 still live with at least one parent, and almost 35% of youth aged 20-34 are living with at least one parent. The majority of Canadian parents provide ongoing housing support for their young-adult children, and these numbers are expected to continue to rise as the cost of living and inaccessibility of affordable housing increases. But what happens to youth whose parents can’t or won’t provide that support?
When a person has spent much of their life worrying about their safety, where they might sleep, how they will find enough to eat, etc. it has a significant negative impact on their ability to do well in school, learn new skills, and participate in developmental opportunities. This leaves a gap between youth in care or at risk of homelessness and their counterparts – a gap that money alone can’t bridge.
Our exploration of the eight pillars of equitable support for youth aging out of care, as outlined in the Canadian Child Welfare League sponsored report “Equitable Standards for Transitions to Adulthood for Youth In Care”, starts at the deep end of the pool: financial support.
For the last several years, Threshold has focused in the spring on sharing the facts around youth aging out of government care on their 19th birthday. The late Katherine McParland, a leading youth housing advocate, once deemed aging out of care the “superhighway into homelessness” – a term that has proliferated. In the past three years, however, the government of BC has announced multiple funding and policy changes aimed at either creating off-ramps from that highway or relieving the housing crisis.