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

Former Nelson swimmers competing in NCAA

Jordan and Kelsey Andrusak will be rivals in in the Western Athletic Conference

CHECK THIS OUT: Don’t let reading fall by the wayside this summer

Avi Silberstein is the children’s librarian at the Nelson Public Library

Kootenay students learn about lake stewardship

Two hundred and fifty students from around Kootenay Lake participated in the Youth Water Festival

Restoration underway on Nelson cenotaph

The Nelson War Memorial was constructed in 1922

Protesters rally in Victoria over newly approved Trans Mountain pipeline

The Still No Consent! No Trans Mountain! 20 kilometre march will end at Island View Beach

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Crews fight wildfire along Sea-to-Sky Highway

A cause has not been determined, although a downed power line is suspected

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

B.C. couple who has raised 58 children turns to community amid cancer diagnosis

Family who raised, fostered and adopted many kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Most Read