Skip to main content

How We Make a Difference

Everyone deserves the opportunity to thrive

Means lives are changed, maybe even saved. Aunt Leah’s gives every young person care and attention to their needs, hopes and dreams. Our services and supports focus on housing, lifeskills, education and employment – four corners to a foundation for life, learning and independence.

We have two goals, first to decrease the number of children taken into foster care by preventing young mothers from losing their children. And secondly we prevent youth leaving foster care from falling into homelessness and poverty. We offer a landing pad and a springboard to a successful future for the young people we serve.

April 1st 2022 – March 30th 2023
764 Youth, moms and children supported

Housing

170

Youth were helped to retain their housing month over month

95%

Retained housing after 3 months

Education

175

Enrolled or re-enrolled in our education support programs

24

Received emergency funds so that they could stay in school

Lifeskills

200

Youth engaged in counselling

2,586

Meals and bags of groceries delivered

Employment

66

Took part in our employment services

26

Started a job 

The Challenge: Why do Foster Kids Struggle?

In BC, there are approximately 850 youth who will ‘age out’ of care at age 19 every year. Of these 850, more than 350 are permanent wards of the court; the Province is their last legal guardian before leaving care and becoming an adult. The remaining young people are either on voluntary or temporary agreements, where the parent/guardian has not lost permanent legal guardianship. In BC, 43% of foster children reside in Metro Vancouver.

These young people leave government care with nothing and often completely alone. Most are healing from neglect, abuse and trauma of some kind. Their circumstances are dismal, most are unemployed, and many experience homelessness within a few years of  leaving care.

What Needs to Change ?

Youth from foster care need the support that most parented youth receive: safe, secure housing, assistance with education, employment and care for their individual needs.

We know who needs extra help and how to reach them. Who to help is not a mystery – we can place scarce resources toward those most in need. This is a relatively small group of individuals; therefore the goal of delivering these extra preventative supports is within reach.

Early intervention creates the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. We have the opportunity and indeed the moral and ethical obligation for early intervention to prevent homelessness, crime, unemployment and unplanned pregnancies and instead offer opportunity and the chance to move toward healthy self sufficient lives. Statistics underscore the necessity of this focus:

We Make Change

For the past 20 years, Aunt Leah’s has advocated for the Ministry of Children and Family Development to extend the age at which youth age out of care.

Our persistence has paid off. In 2024, in British Columbia, the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) extended its services to 27 years of age, providing increased income support, life skills and education support, and counseling services. On April 1st, the full spectrum of its expanded services came into effect.

Yet the housing crisis remains. We have learned that we must invest in physical housing and rent subsidies as the priority for youth aging out of care and families affected by the child welfare system. While the increased post-majority supports provided by MCFD include increased sources of revenue, they do not provide a continuum of housing supports, which is crucial for well-being. BC Housing has yet to establish a youth housing portfolio dedicated to the unique needs of youth.

Aunt Leah’s is well-positioned to bridge the gap of housing for youth aging out of care. We have established a dedicated Housing Department that works cohesively with its sister departments, Employment & Education, and Lifeskills.

In 2024, we will offer increased BC Housing long-term rent subsidies dedicated to youth aging out of care. We will also expand physical housing owned and operated by Aunt Leah’s, creating dedicated housing for youth and families affected by the child welfare system. These efforts are crucial to the stability and support necessary for these youth to transition successfully into adulthood.

I do not know what I would have done without Aunt Leah’s. I could have been homeless myself. Aunt Leah’s is like family. They always have your back and are there for you in a pinch.”  – Ashley

EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS
Your support helps kids in foster care and young mothers achieve a better future.