On behalf of Carolyn Kamper,
Assistant Deputy Minister, MCFD
I am reaching out to provide new information about the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s emergency measures for youth and young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister Mitzi Dean outlines some of these changes in her video. Youth in care and young adults transitioning to adulthood deserve to feel supported and safe, especially as the pandemic challenges remain. That’s why the ministry is extending the emergency housing measures until March 31, 2022. This means that young adults who would have otherwise transitioned into adulthood at age 19 will be able to stay in their current living arrangements and continue to receive the supports they count on. The eligibility for these emergency housing supports remains the same as previous extensions. Social workers will work with youth to transition them where appropriate, including those transitioning to Community Living BC. In addition to the emergency housing measure's extensions, there is continued support and flexibility available through the Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) program, available until September 30, 2021. These changes include easier access to life skills and rehabilitative or mental health programs, fewer weekly participation hourly requirements, the inclusion of a new cultural learning domain, and the ability to participate in AYA for online programming. Concurrent access of AYA and emergency housing measures For young adults who are currently eligible for the AYA program, the ministry encourages them to access the emergency housing measure and the AYA program simultaneously. This will help more young adults participate in life skills, mental health, rehabilitative programs, and post-secondary programs while remaining in their current placement. It will also help young adults build a stronger foundation as they transition to adulthood.
Exceptions for AYA program requirements The AYA program's needs-based assessment continues; however, ministry workers or a Delegated Aboriginal Agency (DAA) worker may request exceptions to program criteria in circumstances where AYA-eligible young adults require additional flexibility to be successful in their program, such as when not meeting minimum hourly requirements. This allows the AYA program to meet young adults where they are and be responsive to their needs during this unprecedented time. If a young adult requires additional support and flexibility to succeed in AYA, they should reach out to their ministry or DAA worker. Please share this news with youth and young adults you know and work with. In the next few days, we will post additional materials to our public website that you can use to share within your organization and social media platforms. Thank you, and please reach out to Catherine Talbott, Executive Director, Strategic Initiatives, at Catherine.Talbott@gov.bc.ca if you have any further questions or comments. Sincerely, Carolyn Kamper Assistant Deputy Minister Strategic Integration, Policy and Legislation Division
Additional Resources for Youth and Young Adults:
· Youth and young adults should speak with their social worker or DAA worker for more information.
· Youth and young adults can call Provincial Centralized Screening 24/7 at 1 800 663-9122 to connect with a social worker.
· Youth and young adults could also contact the Representative for Children and Youth (RCY) at 1 800 476-3933 for support.
· Youth and young adults can also be directed here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/covid-19-information/youth-young-adults-response-to-covid-19
· AgedOut.com has additional resources and information to support youth and young adults.
· A Guide to Your Rights in Care: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/family-and-social-supports/foster-parenting/know_your_rights.pdf
· To make a complaint or share a concern about an experience you’ve had with the ministry regarding services received, call 1 877 387-7027 or visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/data-monitoring-quality-assurance/child-family-service-complaints/children-teen-complaint-process