Huge cost to lack of support for Indigenous youth aging out of care

A new report from the Conference Board of Canada warns that failure to improve programs for young Indigenous adults transitioning out of government care could cost the Canadian economy billions, reports CBC.

The report, Empowering Indigenous Youth in Care as They Transition to Adulthood: Critical Actions for Philanthropy and Policy, found that “if investments weren’t made in education, employment and mental health supports for Indigenous youth aging out of foster care over the next five years, it could cost the Canadian economy anywhere between $2 billion and $5.5 billion,” said Amanda Thompson, report co-author and researcher.

The report employed two economic modelling scenarios to project revenue loss in areas including income tax, earnings, and social assistance payments.

“Children who spend time in care fall behind in various areas of well-being and development. These effects continue to limit their opportunities and outcomes long into adulthood, which together impact economic growth and incur costs on government,” the report states in segments highlighted in the CBC story.

“Age cut-offs are incongruous with developmental realities and do more harm than good. By expanding the criteria for program eligibility beyond age, policymakers can create more inclusive and effective programs for Indigenous youth.”