Children and Family Development Minister Katrine Conroy (Black Press)

Youth in care need better path to independence, B.C. experts say

Lack of family, addiction and mental illness mean more early deaths

Young people leaving government care were five times more likely to die than those in the general population, often after struggling with mental health and addiction problems, a study by the B.C. Coroners Service has found.

A panel of experts in youth services, child support, public health, law enforcement and other professions is calling for extended supports for young people who age out of government care, and monitoring of outcomes to improve policy.

RELATED: Foundry mental health centres expanded

The panel studied deaths of people aged 17-25 in B.C. from 2011 to 2016, where 1,546 died from causes classified as accidental, suicide, undetermined, natural or homicide. Of those, 200 were in care, formerly in care or receiving extensive support services.

Children and Family Development Minister Katrine Conroy said improvements have been made since 2016. A new mental health and addictions ministry has been added, with funding provided for additional substance abuse treatment beds, mental health practitioners and counselling services.

“We know there’s more work to do,” Conroy said. “We’ve hired more youth workers, we’ve improved practice and we need to continue making improvements.”

“The issue of successful transition to adulthood for these young people is broader than just the scope of the Ministry of Children and Family Development,” said Michael Egilson, who chaired the 19-member panel. “The roles of indigeneous partners in education, advanced education, health and mental health ministries are also critical.”

Just Posted

Motorcyclist in stable condition after weekend accident in Mission

Air ambulance brought in to transport man to hospital

PHOTOS: Mission Chamber celebrates 125 years

A new logo was unveiled at the event which included a chili competition

VIDEO: Large fire at Abbotsford auto wrecker

Crews responding to reports of multiple buildings on fire in industrial area

Former Abbotsford gangster arrested for drug operation in India

Jimi Sandhu, deported in 2016, accused of owning drug-manufacturing facility

Murdered Mission woman’s final words, ‘I love you, Mom’

It took 10 years, but Lisa Dudley’s mother finally found out what her daughter said before she passed

Homeless people living on ‘Surrey Strip’ move into modular housing

BC Housing says 160 homeless people are being moved into temporary Whalley suites from June 19 to 21

B.C. RCMP looking for $70,000 in stolen collector cash

Money, in Canadian and Chinese denominations, goes missing in Chilliwack

Port of Prince Rupert names Shaun Stevenson as new CEO

Stevenson has worked for the port for 21 years as vice president of trade development

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of B.C. couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Five B.C. families stuck in Japan as Canada refuses visas for adopted babies

Lawyer points to change in American policy around adoptions from Japan

Most Read