FOSTER KIDS' FUTURES BLEAK DUE TO LACK OF EVIDENCE-BASED POLICY
Queen's Park –
the Child Welfare Political Action Committee Canada (Child Welfare PAC), a non-partisan group of former youth in care, released a white paper
that paints a continually bleak future for foster kids if the government doesn’t take immediate action to implement evidence-based programs and initiatives
The report comes as a timely response to the Ontario government’s third party line-by-line audit of spending.
Jane Kovarikova, author of the report, PhD Candidate at Western University, and Founder of the Child Welfare PAC, responded to the auditor's recommendations.
“Directing government funding to those that need it most is only part of the puzzle. It is essential to ensure that policies and practices are producing results for the people too," said Kovarikova. "Evidence-based education policies can be a way out for many kids".
"We know youth raised by the government graduate foster and group care with as much disadvantage as when they entered the system,” she continued.
Typical outcomes for youth who age-out of care include:
- low academic achievement
- unemployment, underemployment, and poverty
- homelessness and housing insecurity
- early parenthood
- criminal justice system involvement
- poor physical, mental health, and loneliness
This white paper was commissioned by Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, which sought an academic literature review of programs and initiatives supporting youth leaving care that were shown to positively improve their outcomes.
The second section makes recommendations for strengthening existing policy and developing evidence-based standards and resources to lead the sector.
“Improving the outcomes for young people aging out of care is a top priority of Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada,” said Valerie McMurtry, President and CEO of Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada.
She continued, "It’s important that our philanthropic support is used for maximum impact and, therefore, we need to have evidence of what works. This report will be one of the ways that the Foundation’s granting strategy for youth leaving care will be informed.”
“It is clear that traditional policy responses to youth leaving care have fallen short. Innovation and impact measurement are required to ensure government money is providing its children with bright futures,” concluded Kovarikova.
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