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Youth Leaving Care on Talk Local

July 20, 2012 permalink

Earlier this month Rogers showed a program Talk Local on the subject of Youth Leaving Care. Host Hayley Zimak interviewed executive director Alison Scott, caseworker Vickie Straicher and former foster children Jessica Del Rosso and Brandon Eaket. Interspersed are a report by videographer Sarah Monette presenting Family and Children's Services spokesman Sarah Murphy and the Youth Leaving Care video.

The hour-long program is on YouTube: [1] [2] [3] [4], with local copies: [1] [2] [3] [4] (mp4). Note: Commercial breaks are transcribed as two minutes of black screen.

Alison Scott speaks entirely in the language of beneficence. We want to extend help to foster children until age 25. Alison says: "What you really want to have is opportunities for kids not to come into care at all, and for most kids to be raised in their own families with their own supports". This is an example of what we call public/private dichotomy — saying the opposite in public of actions taken in private. Court actions are hidden behind confidentiality, but an earlier news item disclosed that Waterloo FACS was the Central-West Region litigation champion. Litigation for CAS means separating children from their real families.

Alison mentions that Waterloo FACS has an affiliated foundation that has given 200 scholarships since its inception to crown wards for post-secondary education, 36 this year. What she leaves out is the size of those scholarships. While the amounts for Waterloo are not disclosed, other CAS bursaries have been at a daily rate of $1.36, $6.85 and $1.37.

In the final interview, Jessica wants to become a social worker for children's aid, then help gay and lesbian youth. The way she left her mother suggests that she is a lesbian herself. It sounds like she is already working for CAS part-time. Brandon wants to become a policeman. He calls the youth in the Youth Leaving Care video "one-in-a-million exceptions". Most are not nearly so successful.

A thought on the real motive for the push to extend care for foster youth. Of the money appropriated by the legislature for foster care, only a bit over a third gets to the foster parents, the CAS bureaucracy consumes the rest. The program mentions a number of programs and subsidies currently in place for young adults. As things stand now, when the young people apply for them, they receive support without intermediation. With extension of foster care to age 25, CAS may skim off their two thirds before their beneficiary gets a dime. A second thought. For girls, 18-25 are the prime child-bearing years. Keeping these girls under control to age 25 will facilitate acquiring the next generation of foster kids.

Since facts are hard to come by from CAS, here are some factual disclosures about Waterloo FACS by Mrs Scott:

  • 275 foster families
  • 500 kids in care
  • 258 permanent kids (probably she means crown wards)
  • over 150 of the 258 are over the age of ten.
  • about 65 adoptions per year

Get more of the CAS side at Family and Children's Services of the Waterloo Region.

For contrast, fixcas offers this video of a Youth Entering Care (flv). There is only a local copy because it got kicked off YouTube.