Wednesday March 29, 2023 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
More assistance with the cost to raise children and youth in foster care was announced today by Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development.
The increase to monthly payments will help cover food, clothing and transportation costs for children and youth in the care of these registered caregivers.
Dean told media today that this has been on her radar since first being elected as MLA (for Esquimalt-Metchosin) in 2017. She was first the Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, before being appointed as the Minister of Children and Family Development in November 2020 by then Premier Horgan, and then renewed in that position in December 2022 by Premier David Eby. Minister Dean is Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Social Initiatives and a member of the Treasury Board and the Cabinet Committee on Mental Health, Addictions and Homelessness.
Supports for caregivers in BC were unchanged from 2009 to 2019. Budget 2023 provides $84.9 million to the Ministry of Children and Family Development to boost monthly caregiver rates. The increase will benefit approximately 7,800 children, youth and their caregivers.
When Minister of Finance Katrine Conroy delivered Budget 2023 last month she was notably emotional about the importance of these new increases to support the families of children in care.
“Boosting payments for kinship, out-of-care and foster caregivers is crucial to making sure they can continue to deliver the safe and caring homes children and youth need to develop, thrive and lay the foundation for healthy adult lives,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development.
“We depend on caregivers to offer the bedrock of safety and security needed for children and youth to move from vulnerability to strength. Boosting payments is part of working together toward a brighter future for these children and youth.”
By the numbers:
BC is increasing monthly payments for children in foster, kinship and out-of-care placements by as much as 47% to ensure some of the province’s most vulnerable young people and those who care for them will have the support they need to build safe, stable and happy futures.
The per-day rate for caregivers providing respite and relief care is also increasing by as much as 36%.
- As of April 1, 2023, the rate for kinship, out-of-care and foster caregivers caring for children 11 and younger will be $1,465.86 (up from $1,024.64). An increase of $441.22 per month.
- As of April 1, 2023, the rate for kinship, out-of-care and foster caregivers of children and youth age 12 to 18 will be $1,655.91 (up from $1,124.19). An increase of $531.72 per month.
- Budget 2019 provided approximately $64 million over three years to boost caregiver rates, which was the first increase in 10 years.
- Budget 2019 also increased support for family members caring for children through the Extended Family Program (EFP) by more than 70% to harmonize rates with foster caregivers.
“We are overjoyed – increases for foster caregivers is the best news we could have had. It’s been a long time coming,” said Julie Holmlund, president, BC Foster Parents Association. “We are ecstatic for the caregiving community and the impact this will have for families.”
Katie Robertson, executive director, Parent Support Services Society of BC, said: “This rate lift will mean so much to the extended family and community members who have brought a child into their care. These families give so much – love, stability, community and connection – to support these children and youth to succeed, and that dedication is being recognized in this increase.”
Jen, a foster parent of 18 years, said: “I am grateful that the government has acknowledged the importance of the work we do by taking this amazing step to show that we are valued and supported. The increase will help me meet the support needs of my children, such as respite time, extra support time, specialized dental appointments, inclusive summer camps, etc. It will alleviate the financial strain that is a part of meeting all of their unique needs.”
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