Older Youth in care face a number of challenges even without a pandemic. They often worry about making the transition to living independently when they “age out” of care, and having ongoing supportive relationships with adults. Other youth are already living independently with a monthly payment through the agency, and support from a worker. Their lives are not easy, either, as they transition to adulthood.
During this pandemic, though, there are additional issues. Many youth have lost their jobs and are worried about meeting their basic needs. The supportive programs they may rely on have been cancelled or become less accessible.
Because of these concerns, on March 23rd the Agency Crisis Management team made the decision to not age any youth out of care during the pandemic. In other words, they can continue to live in their foster homes or group homes. In addition, the agency is providing all youth who live independently with an additional funding per month for the next two months. After two months, we will re-assess these payments.
We joined the Association of Ontario Children’s Aid Societies and other advocacy groups to encourage the Ministry to make these changes province-wide. On March 30th the Ministry issued a policy directive that no youth should age out of care on their 18th birthday during the pandemic. This directive includes instructions that youth on extended support up to age 21 years will continue to receive financial support during the pandemic.