The website, designed by former youth in care, gives advice on how to navigate life on their own, such as finishing high school and accessing government bursary programs; medical issues ranging from sexually transmitted diseases to depression; avoiding homelessness and tenants rights; getting a social insurance card or a driver’s licence; accessing employment services or going on welfare; leaving abusive relationships and finding community drop-in programs.
“‘How do I get a job? Where am I going to live?’ These are the types of questions we all faced when we became adults. But for those in the care in the ministry, the transition can be much more challenging,” Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development, said in a statement. “We know young people go online to find answers to many of life’s questions and this website is intended to speak directly to them.”
The Vancouver Sun wrote a series of stories in 2014 depicting the challenges for youth leaving care, who compared to their peers in more traditional families face more challenges, including homelessness, dependency on welfare, failing to complete high school, criminal convictions and substance abuse. Young people in provinces and states that had increased the age of care to 21 or 25 had much more promising futures.
Covenant House just announced a new program to match young people who have aged out of foster care with mentors who can help them get a job or further education.
“This mentorship program … will help connect young people to available resources and opportunities, while empowering them to explore and fulfil their goals for adulthood,” said Cadieux.
The $315,000 program for 16-to-24 year olds is funded by the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
Mentors will be available to all young people accessing Covenant House Vancouver’s services, which include residential programs, a drop-in centre, and life-skills and pre-employment training. It’s also available to people referred by the children’s ministry.