A public rally was held Tuesday afternoon on the lawn of the BC Legislature, attended by both current government officials and those they’re expected to care for — youth formerly living in foster care.
It was organized by members of FirstCallBC, a child and youth advocacy coalition made up of 101 provincial and regional organizations that share the same goal, to unite their voices and bring awareness to the pitfalls of foster care through public education, community mobilization and policy advocacy.
Dozens turned out, many of them holding signs calling for change, while others expressed hope and rallied in support of those who have already fallen through the cracks as well as those who have been saved.
Roughly 1,000 youth age out of foster care each year, according to organizers of the rally. They are nearly 200 times more likely to become homeless compared to their peers, and only half ever finish high school.
Their message to government was clear — more support is needed to better improve the outcomes of these former youth in care, achieved through three key recommendations:
- providing consistent financial support;
- long term relationships with caring dependable adults;
- and a chance to connect and contribute to their communities.
A number of these attendees met with provincial MLA’s earlier in the day at the Hotel Grand Pacific to share their experiences and stories, and provide suggestions to government on how to help vulnerable youth.