thoughtful thursday – abandonment by the system

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there are a number of government-funded programs where participants “age out”, but perhaps the most egregious is the foster care program.  children become adults when they turn 19 in BC, so they’re no longer under the aegis of the ministry in charge.  and any problems they encounter as soon as they turn 19 seem to be laid squarely on their own shoulders, the ministry has a hands off approach.  while the ministry indicates that there are resources available, how many 19 year olds, let alone those who’ve been in the foster care system, would have the maturity to first recognize their needs, then the wherewithal to hunt those resources down for themselves and navigate the bureaucratic labyrinth to achieve the help they need?

the irony always strikes me: when we are “finished” with a stage in our life, are we really ready to attack the next?  we’ve noticed a distinct lack of continuity of care in various government supported programs between one life stage and another: pregnancy to birth to postpartum, preschool to school age, youth to adult, in care to out of care.  are we really ready when we’re booted out on our ass from our previous support?  probably not.  i know that i certainly wasn’t in any fit state to navigate whatever resources were available postpartum, i just clung on by my nails and did the best i could, and used the resources that i knew about, but had nothing in me to investigate, or even realize that there was a further resource that i could possibly participate in.  when i asked for support, my options seemed frustratingly limited, but perhaps they weren’t – we have to rely on gatekeepers of knowledge to make these decisions for us, and perhaps they’re not in the best position to do so.

BC teen killed herself the day after she aged out of foster care – vancouversun

Lost in transition: the gap between child and adult mental health services – healthydebate

Slain 37 year old lived chaotic life, failed by BC’s social services – vancouversun

What’s next? Special needs kids face gap in Cowichan – Cowichan Valley Citizen

Inside the stressful world of a preemie mom – Toronto Star