Pallister Government Refuses to Support NDP Motion Asking Province to Extend Services for Children in Care to Age 25

The Pallister government today refused to support an NDP motion to raise the age for youth in care to be eligible for support services from 21 to 25, which would have allowed them to receive the vital services they need to succeed as adults.

“In a rapidly changing and more complex world it is no longer sufficient to end services for youth in care at age 21,” said NDP MLA Andrew Swan. “Many youth are aging out of care at 21 but still require additional supports.”

Swan, the NDP justice critic, introduced a private member’s resolution in the Legislative Assembly today calling on the provincial government to raise the age of eligibility for extensions of care to age 25. Prior to the 2016 election, the Progressive Conservatives were on record as supporting raising the age to 25, Swan noted.

“Despite supporting this move when in opposition, the Progressive Conservatives refused to support it today. That’s truly unfortunate,” Swan said. “Many youth in care struggle to complete education programs, acquire work experience and achieve success in school. They face challenges that can create long-term difficulties as they age out of care at 21.”

Swan also noted that when supports end at age 21 it can be difficult for vulnerable youth, such as those living with mental illness, disabilities or addictions, to access secure housing and needed supports for themselves. These are supports they can get while living with foster families in Manitoba and are offered to youth in care up to age 25 in British Columbia and Ontario.

“A report by the Ontario children’s advocate in 2012 estimated that for every dollar the province paid on services for youth in care up to age 25, it would recoup $1.36 over the youth’s lifetime through additional income tax revenue, less spending on social assistance and a reduction in criminal activity and incarceration rates,” Swan said.