Eligible youth and young adults who have left government care will continue to benefit from more flexible access to the Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) program, as the government extends COVID-19 emergency measures until in March 2022.
“All young people in transition to adulthood need strong supports and relationships to help them thrive, and young adults in care can benefit from additional support to put them on a positive path,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of Childhood and Family Development. “We know how difficult it has been for young people, and that is why, in response to comments from young people, we are expanding our pandemic measures and making access to mental health services more flexible so that more young people can get the help they need. need.”
The province is providing easier access to life support, education, mental health and rehabilitation supports through AYA and is extending emergency measures until March 31, 2022. These measures allow eligible young adults to participate in a wider range of programs to support their goals, such as learning to manage their money, connecting Indigenous peoples with elders in their community, or working on their mental well-being, all with less hours of participation required per week.
“The pandemic has increased the need for mental health services, but many young adults have said it is difficult to find 10 hours a week to spend on mental health,” Dean said. “Based on that feedback and to ensure more young adults can receive support, the hourly requirement has now been reduced to five hours per week. “
In addition, all young people transitioning to adulthood can continue to have access to housing supports to stay in their homes until March 31, 2022. Those who are eligible for the AYA program can apply to participate in both programs at the same time. time. Eligible young adults using emergency housing assistance may be eligible to receive up to $ 350 per month through AYA, depending on their needs and the length of their program. Social workers continue to work with youth to transition to adult services where appropriate, including Community Living BC.
“We are very pleased that the flexible access to the AYA program has been extended again,” said Lorena Bishop, Executive Director of the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks. “Young people leaving care, like all young people, need a safety net as they enter adulthood. It has been very beneficial for young people in government care to have some of these essential supports that they need. This is an important step towards creating a comprehensive support system for young people leaving government care.
Ministry staff and delegated Indigenous agency workers are ready to assist any young adult who has questions about their AYA program eligibility or needs additional flexibility in their services.
These interim measures complement the government’s economic stimulus plan, as well as its COVID-19 action plan to provide income support, tax breaks and direct funding to people, businesses and services.
- Between March 2020 and March 2022, approximately 1,730 young adults will be able to benefit from emergency housing and AYA measures.
- Life skills programs provide tips for things like managing finances, shopping for groceries, planning meals, and writing a resume to help young people reach their goals.
- Cultural learning can include things such as learning languages, learning earthly practices, family mapping, or connecting with cultural knowledge keepers, Elders or cultural mentors.
- The government announced emergency measures in March 2020 and extended these measures on several occasions.
- In March 2021, the government announced that AYA aid would be available until September 30, 2021 and that emergency housing aid would be extended until March 31, 2022.
Agreements with Young Adults Program: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/youth-and-family-services/teens-in-foster-care/agreements-with-young-adults
Ministry response to COVID-19: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/covid-19-information
Other resources for former youth in care: https://agedout.com/
Know your rights as a youth in care: www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/family-and-social-supports/foster-parenting/know_your_rights.pdf
Complaints Process for Youth in Care: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/data-monitoring-quality-assurance/child-family-service-complaints/children-teen-complaint- process
For more information on British Columbia’s COVID-19 action plan and other government resources and updates, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/covid19
For non-medical information on COVID-19, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/covid19 or call 1-888-COVID-19
For medical information on COVID-19, visit www.bccdc.ca
Or call 811