Where Do We Go from Here? Youth Aging Out of Care Special Report

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Office of the Child and Youth Advocate: Edmonton, AB

This report focuses on the issue of young people transitioning out of care into adulthood. This is not new territory for the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate (OCYA). as far back as 1997, concerns about young people leaving care and transitioning to adulthood have been raised. Since then, the OCYA has identified this issue in eight of its annual reports.

To date, neither the repeated efforts of the OCYA to elevate the issue, nor the responses from Government to address the issues surrounding young people leaving care have been effective. 

In 2011-12, regional workshops for professionals called “Advocacy 101: the Basics and Beyond” were hosted by the OCYA. Each workshop concluded with a youth panel. these young people were invited to speak because they had an advocate in their lives and were willing to speak about their experiences with advocacy. throughout their stories a common theme emerged; youth transitioning out of care are still facing significant challenges. this, along with a number of discussions with OCYA staff, young people and other stakeholders led to the formation of this report.

Contained in this report are some difficult issues that young people raised with us that they want to  have addressed. Also in this report, young people described examples of what they viewed as  effective and promising practice. although not exhaustive, we do believe the information provided  by those who spoke with us, the research that we reviewed, and the recommendations within this report provide a more solid foundation for young people to effectively transition from being in Government care to being independent young adults in our Province.

When the ministry of Human Services was formed, there were many who said a broadly based  human service ministry could provide a more comprehensive approach to the people it serves. This report provides opportunities to do just that – create and support a comprehensive program to help these vulnerable young people succeed.

The challenge is to develop and sustain the will to take the action needed to produce effective results for young people leaving Government care. While these young people may have connections to families and communities, they are after all, Alberta’s children. they ought to be able to expect our very best effort to help them succeed. the challenge is whether or not we in Alberta have the will to do all we can to ensure these vulnerable young people become independent, successful adults.

Additional Information
Canadian CW report