This October, the Legislative Assembly met for six days for a legislative session and I want to highlight a few of the most important things that happened and what is coming up.
The Manitoba NDP and I kept fighting for Manitobans and challenged the government and Minister of Families to extend support to foster kids aging out of care during Question Period. As the Critic for Child and Family Services, I asked the Minister if her department will acknowledge the need for ongoing supports for youth aging out of care and commit to extending the age limit to 25 permanently.
Manitoba currently has a moratorium on youth aging out of care for the pandemic that will expire next spring. But we know that the need for greater supports isn't simply a pandemic-related issue – extended supports are necessary for many youths transitioning out of the child welfare system. Normally in Manitoba, youth aging out of care are required to live on their own when they turn 18, or 21 at the latest. They are often left without any life skills and mental health and addictions supports, leaving many youths vulnerable to unemployment or homelessness.
This would ensure that youth who have greater needs than others, for longer periods of time, are set up to succeed as they transition out of the child welfare system. Extending the age limit to 25 would be a good step in ensuring that youth aging out of care are able to access needed supports on an ongoing and reliable basis and can be assessed on a readiness approach rather than an age-based approach, to ensure a child’s greatest success. This would help youth to easily address and overcome the barriers they face such as finding safe and affordable housing, completing their education, managing a budget, and creating meaningful connections within their communities. The Minister needs to commit to extending supports for youth aging out of care by increasing the age limit to 25.
Due to the ongoing PC’s leadership race, it is unclear when we will be returning to the Legislature. If the new premier decides to cancel the upcoming session, we would not be able to come back until March 2022 to introduce important legislation and hold the government to account on their agenda. This would hurt our ability as elected officials to represent our constituents properly so I sincerely hope we will have the opportunity to come back in November, especially because we are still dealing with a public health emergency.
Please contact my office anytime at Amanda.email@example.com or 1-204-623-2034. Kinanaskomitin.