CMHA BC is honoured to present the 2019 Nancy Hall Award to Fostering Change, a campaign led by Community Organizers with lived experience that seeks to change public policy for youth ‘aging out’ of government care in BC.
The Dr. Nancy Hall Public Policy Leadership Award is awarded annually to honour the spirit of the late Dr. Nancy Hall, who acted as a key advisor, consultant and friend to CMHA BC for more than 15 years and who passed away in 2011 after a battle with cancer.
This award recognizes an individual or group in BC that has influenced mental health policy and contributed to positive mental health in the province. In addition, Nancy’s mother, Agnes Hall, was an unwavering and a longtime supporter of CMHA. Agnes passed away earlier this year and all of us at CMHA BC will miss her presence and support.
Fostering Change began at the Vancouver Foundation and is now housed at First Call.
When youth age out of government care at 19, the government services and supports they rely on in place of a family are often cut off. Research shows that youth formerly in care, who are disproportionately Indigenous, are overly represented within the homeless population. They are less likely to graduate from high school and the economic social and wellness outcomes for many youth aging out of care are significantly poorer compared to most young people.
These young people are also at higher risk of experiencing mental health and substance use problems and reduced long-term health and well-being, but Fostering Change is working to change that.
First Call’s mission is to ensure that BC’s policies allow every youth aging out of government care to thrive. At the core of its calls, Fostering Change advocates for all youth aging out of care to have three things: consistent financial support, long-term relationships with dependable adults and a change to connect and contribute to their communities.
Core to the campaign is recognition that adequate supports, including mental health supports that support young people as they transition into adulthood from care, reduce wait lists and that consistent services are crucial to life-long health and well-being.
Fostering Change roots all of its work in the lived experience of youth who have experienced aging out of child protection. It strongly believes that youth from care are experts on fixing policy and changing the practices to better the system, so it supports a team of incredible advocates with experience in the care system, supported by many allies. The campaign supports them to gain important political advocacy skills through professional state-of-the-art training and resources that will help them become catalysts for change.
By mobilizing the lived experience of young people, Fostering Change is changing the landscape around how BC supports the well-being of youth aging out of care in the province.