Tagged: Ready or Not

Ready or Not ’23: Report Card

Red, green, and black text reads 2023 edition Ready or Not Aging Out of Care

To wrap-up Ready or Not: Aging out of Care for this year, we’ve summarizes the BC government’s support for the Eight Pillars of Equitable Support for Youth Aging out of Care with an old-fashioned report card. 

Although significant changes have been made to support youth aging out of government care, there are still major gaps in funding and support to ensure positive long term outcomes. In reviewing recent updates to the recommendations from the BC Representative for Children and Youth, we can see where improvements have been made, and where there is still significant work to be done. 

Finance

C+

Financial supports for youth aging out of care are still contingent on specific requirements, and they fall short of meeting the financial pressures caused by increased housing and food costs. However, for those able to work, a full earning exemption allows for greater flexibility in financial security.  

Education & Professional Development

C+

Recent increases to educational funding, and a reduction in the restrictions for that funding, offer more flexibility for youth leaving care to expand their life skills. However, funding for program costs alone does not take into account the need for additional support while pursuing education & training. 

Housing

C

While some work has been done on investigating and understanding youth housing needs, the majority of funding for housing creation is still inaccessible for organizations supporting youth. 

Relationships

B

The extension of voluntary residential care allows youth from care to maintain relationships with their support networks as they transition out of care. Youth transition workers are now able to work with youth aging out of care up to age 25, helping to maintain relationships as youth transition out of care. 

Culture, Spirituality, and Wellbeing

C

Recommendation #6 from the BC Representative for Children and Youth outlines some of the progress that is being made in this area. However, this progress is slow and falls short of meeting the needs of youth transitioning out of care. Additional funding for extended medical and mental health supports has been mentioned by the government, but concrete details, including an implementation date, have not been announced. 

Advocacy & Rights

F

The implementation of longitudinal data collection to monitor the effectiveness of programs has still not been done. Without the ability to see how programs are working, it is difficult – if not impossible – to get an accurate understanding of the needs of youth transitioning out of care. 

Emerging Adult Development

B

Increases in the number of transition workers, and an extension on the continuity of service with those workers up to age 25, help youth to transition at a pace that they are comfortable with. Additional work to extend the age to 27 (as recommended by the BC Representative for Children and Youth) and increased long term follow up would enhance emerging adult development for youth.

We applaud the work done by the Ministry of Child and Family Development in increasing the funding and support offered to youth as they transition out of care. And, as long as there are still major gaps in the services youth need in order to achieve positive long term outcomes will continue to do our work to fill those gaps with programs that support recovery, housing stability, and life skills training in order to set youth up for long term success as they transition into adulthood.


 

References: 

Check this PDF document for links to all references used in this blog series. 

Ready or Not ’23: Advocacy

Red, green, and black text reads 2023 edition Ready or Not Aging Out of Care

While Threshold’s key focus will always be on providing safe homes, community, and support for youth, we recognize that without system change we are merely a small bucket trying to capture a waterfall. For that reason, within our areas of influence and expertise Threshold also advocates for policy and systems change at multiple levels. 

Within Greater Victoria, staff from Threshold sit on no fewer than 20 committees, working groups, task forces, and communities of practice. Executive Director Colin Tessier is an active member of the national learning community on youth homelessness hosted by A Way Home Canada, and through that connection is able to advocate at both the provincial and national levels. The leadership team also connects with other organizations by sharing our learning at regional, provincial, and federal conferences. 

Threshold Housing Society is an advocate for youth in Victoria. We work to improve policies for youth leaving government care through engagement with multiple levels of government and education for the greater community. Threshold’s annual campaigns for youth aging out of care, 2SLGBTQIA+ youth, and events focused on harm reduction for youth help the broader community. These activities often include media content, community events, and participation at conferences.

Threshold’s four areas of advocacy are: 

Funding for youth housing

Many of the federal & provincial governments’ funding announcements don’t consider the specific needs of housing for youth. 

Without funding that is specifically targetted for the supported and supportive housing that youth need to develop their whole selves, the crisis of youth homelessness will not end. 

Aging Out of Care

As this campaign shows, despite announcements from the BC Ministry for Child and Family Development, far too many former youth in care continue to have difficult transitions to adulthood.

We will continue to represent these youth and to fight for the support they deserve. 

Harm Reduction for Youth

Parents, teachers, and social service staff – not to mention the community at large, must face the reality of underage substance use. 

Harm reduction keeps youth alive while they learn the skills to sustain the level of sobriety that provides what they want for their lives, and we will continue to talk and teach about it. 

Youth Homelessness Prevention

Without real action to prevent youth homelessness, all plans to end homelessness are doomed to failure. 

We will continue to  research & implement practices and programs that prevent youth homelessness and will share our learnings with other youth service providers. 

Ready or Not ’23: Emerging Adult Development

Red, green, and black text reads 2023 edition Ready or Not Aging Out of Care

Youth with a history of trauma are at higher risk for negative outcomes later in life and delays in developing basic life skills. Youth who also have disabilities, both visible and invisible, face additional challenges with their emerging adult development. These lived experiences can lead to a reduced “window of tolerance” for stress which impacts different aspect of their lives including healthy relationships, employment, housing stability, and substance use.

Ready or Not ’23: Culture, Spirituality & Wellbeing

Red, green, and black text reads 2023 edition Ready or Not Aging Out of Care

Intergenerational trauma, colonization, and trauma during and resulting from the foster care system contribute to negative outcomes in personal wellbeing for youth. The Child Welfare League of Canada’s Equitable Standards for Transitions to Adulthood for Youth in Care outlines ways in which governments can better support culture, spirituality, and mental health in order to improve outcomes in personal wellbeing for former youth in care. They state:

“Every young person should be connected to their culture and spirituality, in ways that are meaningful to them, safe, and at their own pace.”

AND

Ready or Not ’23: Housing Support

Red, green, and black text reads 2023 edition Ready or Not Aging Out of Care

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?

Ready or Not ’23: Education & Professional Development

Red, green, and black text reads 2023 edition Ready or Not Aging Out of Care

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.

Ready or Not in 2023

Red, green, and black text reads 2023 edition Ready or Not Aging Out of Care

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.