Posted on Mar 11, 2021
NDP CALL ON GOVERNMENT TO PERMANENTLY STOP ATTACK ON FORMER FOSTER CHILDREN
EDMONTON - Alberta’s NDP are calling on the UCP government to permanently stop their attempt to lower the age of eligibility for former foster children who access Support and Financial Assistance Agreements.
Reducing the age of eligibility would result in a disturbing increase in deaths of former kids in care,” said NDP Critic for Children’s Services Rakhi Pancholi. “I have brought forward people who work directly with former kids in care and some of the young adults themselves, and they have been clear that cutting these supports early would lead to loss of life. Period.”
In January, the Alberta Court of Appeal overturned an injunction to halt the UCP’s attempt to reduce the age of eligibility from 24 years-of-age to 22 years-of-age which would leave hundreds of young Albertans without access to support for things like housing, child care, counselling and career preparation.
Pancholi has been calling on the UCP to stop the plans to change eligibility since November 2019. During estimates debate on the Children’s Services budget the UCP announced that they will back off the cuts for only one year.
“This year so far, fourteen young people over the age of majority who received support have died. In 2020 ten young people died. The year before, seven young people died. There have been years with two.”
The numbers among Indigenous youth are at their highest in a decade, with twenty-one young people who received support passing away between April 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021.
“Cutting this critical support for vulnerable youth is wrong. These young Albertans have nowhere else to turn. They are trying to get their lives on track and the UCP are setting them up to fail. I’m calling on the UCP and the Minister of Children’s Services to commit to stop this attack on young people, permanently.” said Pancholi.