Help create Funding for Homes and Financial Support for Youth in and out of Foster Care.

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In British Columbia the Ministry of Children and Family Development provides child welfare services under the order of Child, Family and Community Service Act developed in 1996 to youth ages 0-19. There are 429 ministry offices that provide child protection services in B.C. In 2013 Canada had over 65,000 children in foster care, in B.C. alone there are over 8000 children in care. However, there has been a significant shortage of homes and little to no financial support for youth in and out of foster care across Canada. This crisis is due to lack of government funding. In Canada there is a budget of 1.5 billion dollars and only a small fraction is used to fund child welfare housing and financial aid. Without the correct funding many people become hesitant to become foster parents as the funding only covers about 60 % of the overall costs to raise a child. This limits the amount of people who are willing to foster youth which ultimately decreases the amount of housing options in Canada.

In B.C. about 700 kids in care “age out” each year. In British Columbia once a child turns 19 years of age they have officially “aged out” of the system. Which means when a previously fostered youth turns 19, he or she suddenly goes from being part of the system to being on his or her own. Often this leaves the young adults homeless without any funding to support them. Financial support is available for those who qualify while enrolled in school, life skills training or rehabilitation programs through the Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) program. However, youth who were voluntarily placed in care or were only temporarily wards of the state do not qualify for AYA, which is a large amount of fostered youth approximately 40 %. Majority of the funding programs are based on if the youth attends school. There is very limited funding for those unable to attend post secondary.

****Without funding, many youth never experience stability in their lives as the lack of housing causes youth to jump from home to home or they age out of care and become homeless. 40% of homeless youth were in foster care at some point in their lives. My goal for this petition is to gain enough support from people who want to see change and better the lives of thousands of kids in foster care. It is my goal to put pressure on the government to dedicate more funding for foster care services specifically for housing options and financial support for youth in care and youth who have “aged out” of care. This ultimately will help eliminate the shortage of foster homes in B.C. creating more homes for fostered youth. It will also help guarantee that youth that “age out” of care will have a lot more of an easy transition into life as they will not become homeless and will have more stability. I plan writing a letter to the MLA of Surrey and using this petition as an attachment to add pressure and make my argument stronger. So please help me create change by signing this petition!*****