Youths who are or were from foster care, as well as their allies, could be seen chanting at the B.C. Parliament Buildings on Wednesday as they carried large cardboard cutouts of ministers to form a “family portrait.” (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Youths who are or were from foster care, as well as their allies, could be seen chanting at the B.C. Parliament Buildings on Wednesday as they carried large cardboard cutouts of ministers to form a “family portrait.” (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

VIDEO: Youths from foster care system call on province for more action

Group protesting in Victoria would like to see better supports for youths aging out of system

More than 50 youths could be seen chanting “thrive not survive” at the B.C. Parliament Buildings on Wednesday as they carried large cardboard cutouts of ministers through the grounds.

The crowd consisted of youths who are or were from foster care as well as their allies. They scheduled 26 different meetings with ministers, MLAs, political staffers and Premier John Horgan. The youths, who are part of an organization called Fostering Change, were at the Legislature to advocate for better supports for youths who are aging out of the foster care system.

The cut-outs were meant to form a “family portrait,” signalling to the province that the ministers and premier are a key part of the youths’ “family” as people who take responsibility for them.

READ ALSO: ‘Our goal is to heal families’: Colwood woman shares why she’s been a foster parent for 25 years

“Our journeys through care are filled with trauma and adversity. And at 19, we’re trust out by the caregiver … told we no longer need their services,” said Dylan Cohen, the campaign organizer with Fostering Change. “This is not what most kids go through, let alone those struggling like us.”

A group of youths took the opportunity to speak about aging out, a term used to describe the process of turning 19 and losing supports that youths in care once had.

“Too many of us die, too many of us age out without the supports we need … without an education,” Cohen said. “This is a solvable issue … government needs to listen.”

The group also noted the province’s Budget 2020 Consultation Report highlighted that changes need to be made when it comes to supports for youth formerly in care.

“The committee highlighted this as a critical area for action, acknowledging the anxiety of turning 19 and the fact that not all youth, whether in care or not in care, are ready to be independent at that age,” the report reads.

READ ALSO: B.C. youth aging out of foster care call for serious child welfare reform

According to Victoria’s 2018 Vital Signs report put out by the Victoria Foundation, there were 770 children and youth in care on south Vancouver Island as of March 31, 2017.

Fostering Change is working to make sure aging out can be a positive experience for youths in care.

Cohen said the group hopes Horgan will listen to them and understand the reality youths face.

“You see the cutouts of the ministers here not to represent who’s missing, but who’s our family,” Cohen said. “We need change to come from them.”

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Dylan Cohen, a community organizer with Fostering Change, spoke about the difficulties of aging out of the foster care system. He and a group of youths who were or are from the foster care system are calling on the province to improve supports for those that are aging out. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Dylan Cohen, a community organizer with Fostering Change, spoke about the difficulties of aging out of the foster care system. He and a group of youths who were or are from the foster care system are calling on the province to improve supports for those that are aging out. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Youths who are or were from foster care, as well as their allies, could be seen chanting at the B.C. Parliament Buildings on Wednesday as they carried large cardboard cutouts of ministers to form a “family portrait.” (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Youths who are or were from foster care, as well as their allies, could be seen chanting at the B.C. Parliament Buildings on Wednesday as they carried large cardboard cutouts of ministers to form a “family portrait.” (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Just Posted

Heather P. (Right) and Hope Buy-Low Foods store manager Pauline Newbigging (left) show off Heather’s winnings as she enjoys free groceries for a year. The prize package from Buy-Low, one of six chain-wide, is valued at more than $5,000. (Photo/Pauline Newbigging)
Hope Buy-Low shopper wins free groceries for a year

Prize package from MYNR app valued at $5,200

Signs geared to protecting salmon habitat were damaged at the Fraser River near Chilliwack. (Facebook)
New signs for protecting Fraser River habitat near Chilliwack vandalized

Fishery officers want off-road users to enjoy river resource in the ‘least damaging way possible’

A real estate sold sign hangs in front of a Canadian property Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy.
Fraser Valley Real Estate Board breaks sales records 6 months in a row

‘Levels never seen before in the 100-year history of the FVREB’

(Black Press file photo)
Harrison Mills boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

Rendering of proposed homeless shelter and supportive housing facility on Rowat Avenue and Trethewey Avenue in Chilliwack. (BC Housing)
Supportive housing and shelter proposed to replace the Portal in Chilliwack

Province looking to fast-track hybrid proposal for 50 supportive homes and 40 shelter spaces

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains discovery a reminder of B.C. Indigenous culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

A memorial to Hudson Brooks outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment. (File photo)
Surrey officer who fatally shot Hudson Brooks recounts ‘absolutely terrifying’ incident

Const. Elizabeth Cucheran testified at coroner’s inquest Tuesday morning

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

Most Read