Since 2019, the McCreary Centre Society's Youth Research Academy (YRA) has been conducting a longitudinal study of British Columbia (BC) youth transitioning out of government care and alternatives to care (e.g., on a Youth Agreement), including youth transitioning out of the services of Delegated Aboriginal Agencies. Members of the YRA, together with key policy makers and service providers, developed topics for a questionnaire which would be completed by youth every six months, starting approximately six months before their 19th birthday, through to their 24th birthday.
The goal of the study is to better understand the experiences of BC youth as they go through the process of transitioning out of care. The study will provide school's staff, policy makers and service providers with up-to-date and relevant information to identify what is working well and what is challenging for these young people, and to ensure youth are supported to experience the most successful transition possible.
Preliminary findings from the study identified a number of different supports that were helpful to youth as they approached their 19th birthday, including feeling connected to community and having at least one caring adult in their life . Additionally, among those who had received support, 71% identified a supportive adult who had helped them to do well at school.
Despite the challenges young people experienced before and after leaving care, the survey results highlight youth’s strengths and resiliency, and the important role that school counselors and other adults within the school system can play in supporting a more successful transition.
McCreary Centre Society's Vaping Youth Researchers are a group of 28 youth researchers in grades 8 – 12 who were recruited and trained from communities across BC to co-develop and deliver three online surveys to their peers. Four of us will be presenting at the conference.