News / BC

B.C. boosts rent, child care and health care support for former youth in care

VANCOUVER - The B.C. government says it's giving a financial break to young adults who have spent time in its care.

Those young adults will now get more support for rent, child care and health care, while they go back to school or attend a rehabilitation, vocational or approved life skills program.

The changes come as part of a $7.7-million expansion of the Agreements with Young Adults program and they take effect April 1.

As part of the expansion, the upper age limit for young adults who want to be part of the program has been raised by one year to 27 years old.

The needs-based monthly support rate has also been raised by up to $250 to a new maximum of $1,250.

The provincial government said financial support is now available year round, instead of the previous eight-month limit, so young people can continue to receive supports while on summer holiday or other program breaks.

"Parents recognize that — with today's cost of living — young adults need time to figure out their path and steady support to get where they want to go," said Children and Family Development Minister Katrine Conroy in a statement.

"That's especially true for children and youth in government care, and it's why we're increasing financial support, making our programs more flexible and keeping the door open longer to help them access the right supports when they're ready."

Since 2008, 2,880 young adults have participated in the program. Anyone who is 19 to 27 and has been in foster care or had a youth agreement with the government is eligible to apply through the program for help with living expenses, including food, housing, babysitting, health care and transportation.

The program complements the tuition waiver program gives young people who were in government care access to free tuition and mandatory fees at all 25 public post-secondary institutions in the province. The NDP's budget, released last week, also includes $2 million annually to support the program.

In fall 2017, 229 former youth in care had tuition and mandatory fees waived, compared with 189 youth in the previous year.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the age limit boost applied to the tuition waiver program.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved. 2018

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