Extended supports help youth in care during pandemic
Youth in care will not age out of services during the COVID-19 pandemic and those who have recently aged out will get extra assistance, the B.C. government declared last week.
“During these uncertain times, youth deserve our steady, consistent support to help them through,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “We don’t want anyone to fall through the cracks, so we’ve taken emergency steps to ensure young people in and from care can continue getting the services they count on.”
Youth and young adults from care will continue receiving the same level of service during the pandemic, even if they were set to age out. This enables extra stability and support for young people who might otherwise face housing, educational and employment uncertainty. Youth currently living in foster care, contracted residential agencies or with relatives through the extended family program will be able to stay where they are. Social workers are modifying agreements to allow youth and caregivers to extend their current living arrangements once a youth reaches 19 years old.
Young adults between the ages of 19 and 27 who are enrolled in the Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) program will continue to receive financial support despite school closures and other training program interruptions caused by the current pandemic. If applicable, these young adults may also be eligible to receive an extension of AYA support beyond the current maximum of 48 months. Youth who are nearing the end of an Independent Living or Youth agreement will be given options allowing them to continue receiving monthly living expenses past their 19th birthday. Social workers are contacting youth to guide them through this process.
Additional efforts will be made to locate young adults who have recently aged out of care to connect them to other lines of available support, like the B.C. Emergency Benefit for workers and the Federal Emergency Care Benefit.
These interim measures further complement government’s $5-billion COVID-19 Action Plan to provide income supports, tax relief and direct funding for people, businesses and services.