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

RCMP identify Beasley body, foul play suspected

The remains of Lemar Halimi were discovered in May

‘We are ready for the world’

LVR valedictorian Tyler Lakeman’s speech

Unregulated private land logging continues near Nelson at Cottonwood Lake

Sunshine Logging of Kaslo is cutting on private land in the area of Giveout Creek Road

L.V. Rogers grads celebrate with ceremony, cavalcade

‘It’s been amazing watching them transform’

Matt Reeder remembered at memorial in Nelson

Reeder died earlier this month after being assaulted on Baker Street

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

Late goal gives England 2-1 win over Tunisia

At the last World Cup in 2014, England couldn’t even win a game

Canadian military police officer pleads not guilty to sex assault

Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre, 48, entered his plea today at a court martial proceeding in Halifax

Cheers erupt as Federal Court judge approves historic gay purge settlement

Gay military veterans said they were interrogated, harassed and spied on because of their sexuality

Remains of two people found on Vancouver Island

Officials have not said whether or not the remains belong to two missing men, last seen in Ucluelet in mid-May

Helping B.C.’s helpers cope

The MRT has helped almost 7,000 first responders and street workers in 57 communities in B.C.

Border officials argue B.C. man’s Facebook posts threat to Canada’s security

A B.C. Supreme Court judge acquitted Othman Hamdan of terrorism charges last September

Reena Virk’s mother has died

Both of Virk’s parents became activists against bullying in wake of daughter’s death

B.C. announces $75M to help friends, family care for seniors at home

Funding will go towards respite care and adult day programs

Most Read