Published November 07, 2022 19:34
Foster children and youth in care have a disproportionately low chance of advancing to post-secondary education, which can greatly impact their employment opportunities and overall quality of life. Right now, there are approximately 63,000 Canadian children living in permanent care with foster families, extended family, or in group homes. Across the country, hundreds of thousands of children and youth have been identified as having experienced or being at risk of experiencing abuse and neglect. These children and youths often experience difficulties gaining access to adequate education opportunities, especially when it comes to post-secondary education. For every 1,000 youths in Canadian foster care, only eight go on to graduate with a post-secondary education. One of the largest barriers to entry for children in foster care is the financial burden that comes along with post-secondary education.
When a young person “ages out” of foster care they lose access to many of the supports available through the child welfare system. Many young people leaving foster care do not have the same educational and employment opportunities as their contemporaries, leading to an employment rate 20% less than their peers. This lack of formal employment contributes to the risk of homelessness. Without a stable source of income, some former foster youth struggle with food security and long-term housing stability.
Youth leaving foster care often have strained connections with family and may struggle to build a strong support network. While many young people across Canada continue to rely on their parents for housing, financial, and emotional support well into their 20s, youth leaving foster care are expected to be completely independent at the age of 18. This means they may not have anyone to fall back on if they miss a bill payment, are temporarily out of work, or a large expense comes up. This leaves many young people at risk for unstable housing. Research shows a significant relationship between adult homelessness and a history of living in foster care.
A study done in 2017 by the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth found that over the last four decades, poor academic outcomes have been characteristic of former youth in care from Canada, the United States, and Britain. Youth in care struggle to complete high school with 56% of Ontario Crown Wards dropping out of high school.
In response to the growing number of foster children and youth in care that struggle to afford post-secondary studies, Storwell Self Storage has developed the Foster Children Bursary Program. The aim of the bursary program is to provide foster children and youth in care with resources and opportunities that might be otherwise unavailable to them. With the proper tools, these students can work towards building a better life for themselves through the pursuit of higher education. The bursary is for a value of $2,000, full eligibility requirements and access to the bursary application form can be found at: https://www.storwell.com/bursary-application