Province extends supports for youth in care for another year

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The province has extended COVID-19 emergency measures which will allow youth and young adults set to transition from government care to stay in their current living arrangements for up to one additional year.

“Youth and young adults in our care deserve to feel supported and safe, especially as we continue to navigate this pandemic,” said Mitzi Dean, minister of children and family development. “As the economy recovers, housing and employment are recovering too. We are supporting young adults to stay in their current living arrangements, so they don’t need to transition to independence during this tumultuous time.”

The province said all youth transitioning into adulthood can access housing supports to stay where they are, past their 19th birthday, until March 31, 2022. This includes youth living in foster care, contracted residential agencies or with relatives through an out-of-care arrangement. Those who are on independent living agreements and youth agreements will continue to receive financial support also, the province said.

Youth who are eligible for the agreement with young adults (AYA) program can now apply for it at the same time as housing support. Eligible young adults using the emergency housing support may be eligible to receive up to $350 per month through AYA, based on their unique needs and the length of their program, according to the province.

“Being able to access both housing and AYA at the same time will help more young adults participate in life skills, mental health and educational programs, while remaining in their current home,” Dean said.

As part of government emergency measures announced in September last year, easier access to life skills and rehabilitation supports through the AYA program are in place until September. 

The province said these measures allow eligible young adults to take part in a wide range of life skills programs and cultural learning options. 

More flexibility is also being granted for eligible young adults to access mental health and rehabilitative supports while participating in the AYA program, along with a lower hourly requirement for these programs.

“We are incredibly happy to hear that the government will be extending COVID-19 emergency measures for the next year,” said Sarah Stewart, co-chair, BC coalition to end youth homelessness (BCCEYH). “We are committed to working with government to ensure that our young people who are aging out of care have thoughtful and caring plans and supports in place over this next year and the years to come.”

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