The City of Vancouver is in need of policy reform for foster care and low income youth.
For far too long the issues of foster children and low income youth have been ignored. It is to be acknowledged that the government’s current policies are actually punishing these children. Vulnerable youth are ending up homeless. They are lacking the support to graduate from high school and university and are subsequently robbed of their right to succeed. With this in mind, GRIP calls upon elected leaders to understand that children are the heart of the matter and that policy reform is required in this area. East Vancouver is one visible example of the impacts of poor foster care and child poverty. Vulnerable children are often isolated in schools, from being unable to attend field trips, missing classes due to hunger and even being bullied for being poor. Many Vancouverites have lost friends and family members to overdoses, suicides, and alcohol abuse. It is a constant reminder that our society is tragically flawed. The GRIP team would however like to express gratitude to the teachers, counsellors, law enforcement and foster parents who strive each day to fill the gap that government policies could not - to those who spend personal time and money to provide food and safe spaces to vulnerable youth. Their compassion and dedication gets the children through the day. It is evident that elected leaders must also make policies that have a lasting impact. Often, a child’s poor circumstances are attributed to their heritage or poor parenting. The reality is that government is also responsible when resources are not adequately spent on finding and implementing reforms that would ensure every child has their basic needs met. Problems that low income and foster children face are more numerous than ever before, especially with the increases in living costs, gaps in education and opportunity, and above all, a lack of community and inclusion. It is with great resolve that GRIP reaches out to elected leaders and also organizes book drives in the community for orphaned and rural youth. The children deserve adequate resources to succeed and have a bright future. We hope that teachers, counsellors, law enforcement, health care providers and public officials will dedicate more resources to finding viable solutions for improving life outcomes of vulnerable children.
By: Anna T. Bui & Jashan Singh Randhawa Date: October 10, 2018