April 28, 2014 3:15 pm

B.C.’s advocate for children and youth says young people need care after 19

VANCOUVER – B.C.’s advocate for children and youth wants changes to the way the government deals with children in care.

Right now, roughly 700 children a year age out of foster care when they turn 19.

Representative Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond released her report on Monday on the support available to B.C. youth when they leave the care of the provincial government.

She said the problem is that they go from being in care, to turning 19 and are then on their own.

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She is recommending the province create a ‘Youth Secretariat’, who would help kids transition out of care at age 19 and help them until they are age 25.

“What this report says today though is that the government of British Columbia does not have the strategy for young people,” said Turpel-Lafond. “As you all probably know, it’s the Ministry for Children and Families and if you think about it, what’s missing from that? There’s no youth.”

“Where is youth in British Columbia? A fact that resides in no part of government really,” she added.

“I hear all kinds of stories. Everything from a young person, 16 years old, is on a youth agreement, living independently and their life has fallen apart. What happens to them? They can’t live, they can’t function, they’re virtually homeless and of course their school doesn’t become a priority because they can’t get there.”

Stephanie Cadieux, the Minister of Child and Family Development, said it is unlikely the government will be introducing a Youth Secretariat, but said she is not against introducing some of the recommendations in Turpel-Lafond’s report.

Watch: Minister Cadieux responds to Turpel-Lafond’s report

© Shaw Media, 2014

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