Kids need help after aging out of care

Re: “Kids’ lives are at stake, and B.C. needs to do better,” comment, Feb. 24.

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I wholeheartedly agree with Rick FitzZaland that B.C. needs to do better for its children in permanent care. I would add to his list that the children and youth representative recommended in 2014 that the province also extend support to all youth aging out of care until the age of 25.

Most B.C. parents who have 19- to 28-year-old children do not show them the door when they turn 19, but provide help in the form of groceries, rent and emotional support. Many of the youth in care have special needs, and, after aging out, experience high rates of homelessness, unemployment, mental health difficulties, substance abuse, early pregnancy, interrupted education and, in some cases, suicide.

The 2016 Fostering Change study found that additional support totalling $57 million for youth aging out of care today would improve outcomes and reduce future costs. The government needs to provide necessary support to B.C. youth aging out of care and benefit the taxpayer at the same time.

Sonja Ruffell


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