Advocates are speaking out about a change to provincial funding for Alberta youth.
The length of time they’ll qualify for financial support is being cut.
A standing committee meeting on families and communities was held on Oct. 31 for questions and answers.
“Just for confirmation, the eligibility age has been changed from 24 to 22?” Critic for Children’s Services Rakhi Pancholi asked.
“It will be reduced from 24 to 22 as of April in the next fiscal year,” Minister of Children’s Services Rebecca Schulz replied.
The program in question is called Support Financial Assistance Agreement or (SFAA) and it is designed to help transition youth who have been involved with Child Intervention Services into adulthood.
Currently, the program is available to people between the ages of 18 to 24.
But that time frame of support is being cut short by two years and that isn’t sitting well with the NDP Opposition critic.
“I’m completely shocked, and I can’t believe that this government would do it but it seems they care more about supporting a 4.7 billion dollar give away to corporations rather than supporting our most vulnerable young people,” Pancholi said in a Twitter video posted on Oct. 31.
But Schulz said that’s not the case.
“Sometimes, by the age of 22, we do see a number of these young people no longer interested in accessing that program,” Schulz said.
There are currently over 2,000 Albertans between the ages of 18 to 24 who are receiving assistance, but by the time the changes are made, roughly 500 young adults will be cut off from the funding.
“I feel upset and angry… I know I’m going to be getting cut off when I turn 22,” said Shyanne Tourangeau, a current SFAA recipient.
Tourangeau was placed under child services care at the age of 15 and began to receive transitional support from SFAA at 18. Now 20 years old and a mother of two, she fears for her future.
“It’s going to affect me because it’s going to take money out my and my kids’ pockets to pay for school or to pay for whatever are my kids’ needs,” added Tourangeau.
She hopes the government will reverse its decision. Meanwhile, the minister did not say how much money this change will save.