Removing barriers for former youth in care outside the classroom

Former youth in care have access to additional wraparound supports during their post-secondary studies to help them afford the necessary expenses outside the classroom, with the Government of British Columbia's renewed contributions to the Youth Futures Education Fund.

"Students often turn to family for support with living expenses while they pursue their dreams and post-secondary education. But former youth in care rarely have that option," said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. "The Youth Futures Education Fund is about that extra help. The fund is a great example of public and private efforts coming together to support former youth in care, and invest in their bright future."

The Youth Futures Education Fund is held at the Vancouver Foundation. It is guided by a third-party committee made up of numerous organizations that are experts within the field of youth in care, or helped to establish the fund. The fund helps students with non-tuition expenses while they attend school, helping to reduce the financial burden of living expenses - including textbooks, food and rent.

"We are committed to making sure everyone has the opportunity to achieve their true potential. This funding announcement builds on our commitment to give youth the support they need to thrive, not just survive," said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. "On top of Budget 2018's expansion of government's Agreements with Young Adults, the Youth Futures Education Fund is making the dreams of successful post-secondary education possible for former youth in care."

This contribution to the Youth Futures Education Fund continues government's commitment to supporting education and skills training for former youth in care. Budget 2018 expanded the Ministry of Children and Family Development's Agreements with Young Adults program. Effective April 1, 2018, the upper age limit for the Agreements with Young Adults program was raised to a person's 27th birthday, the maximum needs-based monthly support rate increased to $1,250 and students can now receive year-round funding while on scheduled program breaks.

"Being able to receive an education has completely changed my life. Receiving an education wouldn't have been possible at all without Youth Futures Education Fund," said Emily Goncalves, Youth Futures Education Fund recipient.

"We applaud the ministry's commitment to increasing the opportunities for academic success for former youth in care," said Lane Trotter, president and CEO, Langara College. "This announcement is well aligned with Langara's own youth-in-care bursaries, which have made a difference in the lives of over 40 students since the program launched in 2014. We have seen first-hand the success that former youth in care can have, and the impact of reducing financial barriers to education."

"Because of the vital role that education plays in helping a young person realize their full potential, we are very grateful for the continued contributions and partnership with the ministry in assuring that post-care students have equal education opportunities," said John Greschner, chair of the Youth Futures Education Fund. "Supporting youth transitioning out of care is an issue that deserves our collective focus. We are counting on more organizations and individuals - both public and private - to follow the ministry's lead, and generously invest in youth from care as they strive for a brighter future. The pattern is simple: youth who receive the support they need as they transition out of care become adults who are better equipped to support themselves and contribute to their communities."

The number of former youth in care benefiting from tuition-waiver programs has increased by 77% since it was expanded in September 2017. About 189 youth benefited from bursaries or waivers between September 2016 and June 2017, compared to 335 former youth in care who benefited from the provincial tuition waiver program between September 2017 and March 2018. Since the tuition waiver program was launched, the Province has reimbursed $1.8 million to post-secondary institutions, and has committed $6 million to the program over the next three years.

Original article from BC Government News