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

Update: 27 fires burning in Monashee Complex

Mabel Creek, Sugar Mountain and Harris Creek fires continue to burn near Lumby and Cherryville

Updated: RCMP no longer suspect death of Vernon woman is suspicious

West Kelowna RCMP continue to investigate the woman’s sudden death

Urgent need for Kelowna, Vernon blood donors

Okanagan blood shortfall part of nation-wide challenge

Falkland director seeks ambulance

Rene Talbot feels community between Vernon and Kamloops should have ambulance

Child dies in boating accident on Kal Lake

UPDATE: 9:50 p.m. A six-year-old is dead following a boating incident on… Continue reading

A first-hand look at hazards facing scooter users

A Salmon Arm reporter tags along on a mobility scooter tour of the city to learn about safety hazards

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Man found not guilty in 2011 drug-related shooting in Shuswap

Judge rules Jeremy Davis couldn’t foresee his companion would kill 24-year-old Nick Larsen.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Hot, dry conditions forces drought rating to highest level on Vancouver Island

The province says Vancouver Island is under Stage 4 drought conditions

Victoria police say explicit calls continue to target women

Over 50 reports of unwanted, sexually explicit calls have come in

Parks Canada has ‘general concept’ in mind for South Okanagan-Similkameen

Minister Catherine McKenna will be providing a further update to representatives in Penticton Friday, August 17

‘It’s like a party in your mouth’

B.C. creator’s Milkshake Burger makes its debut at the PNE

Most Read