The needs of youth leaving Children’s Aid Society care are complex and interconnected. At the age of 18, these youth must assume responsibility for their own health and well-being, relationships, employment, housing, education, and building connections within their communities. Many youth also face the challenge of transitioning to adult support systems, including health and mental health, and social services systems. Some of these youth may lack the knowledge and skills to identify and navigate these service systems. In some cases it is even more complex for Aboriginal Youth Leaving Care
Youth leaving the care of CASs or formal customary care are more likely to achieve improved outcomes when they are provided with supports and guidance. This is true for Aboriginal Youth as well.
The YITW will support Aboriginal youth leaving care to transition from the child welfare sector into adulthood. Currently, eligible youth between the ages of 18 to 21 receive financial and/or non-financial supports through the Continued Care and Support for Youth (CCSY) program. However, the YITW Program will extend non-financial supports to youth ages 16 to 24 (inclusive). Youth will be connected to educational, employment, housing, life skills, mental health and other supports in their communities, and given support to navigate the transition from care to adulthood.
Specifically, the YITW will:
- Ensure that program eligibility criteria are met.
- Help eligible youth develop and achieve the goals they have set for themselves through the program.
- Support eligible youth leaving care to identify, access and navigate adult service systems relevant to their needs, and transition to adulthood.
- Facilitate access for youth leaving care to existing supports and resources in the community, by providing information and referrals for individual youth that address individual needs and support/reinforce strengths. Some of the resources and supports may include:
- Housing supports;
- Education resources;
- Employment services and training;
- Life Skills training (e.g. financial management, household management);
- Health and mental health services; and
- Legal services.
- Support eligible youth leaving care to develop and maintain relationships with responsible, caring adults in the community to help them as they transition to adulthood.
- Foster communication and linkages with community agencies/organizations to improve access and mitigate barriers to services for youth leaving care.
- Work with local CASs to develop a referral approach, and to create awareness of the program among youth leaving care.