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Manitoba Government Press Release–As part of its COVID-19 response, the Manitoba government is taking steps to extend supports and services to all young adults who would otherwise age out of the Child and Family Services (CFS) system during this difficult time, Families Minister Heather Stefanson announced today.

“This pandemic is creating uncertainty for all Manitobans, including many youth in our child welfare system,” said Stefanson. “Our government will ensure young people who would otherwise age out of CFS care have access to continued financial and other support when they turn 18, giving them a greater chance of independence and success beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. We will work with child welfare authorities and agencies to ensure funding and supports are in place to make this possible.”

The Manitoba government will continue to extend supports to all youth currently in care who turn 18 between March 20 and Sept. 30. This includes extending foster care placements and ensuring that youth who choose to move out of foster care continue to receive financial support, the minister noted.

Many youth exiting care at the age of majority choose to transition to an Agreement with a Young Adult, which provides continued care and maintenance funding, with the purpose of assisting youth to transition to independence. These agreements are voluntary and available to young adults up to the age of 21. Individuals who currently have a voluntary agreement in place will continue to receive this assistance over the same timeframe, regardless of their age.

Over the next six months, this change could benefit more than 280 youth in care and more than 70 young adults with agreements.

The minister noted Manitoba Housing will also make 10 additional units available to provide stable, secure housing to young adults who are aging out of care and other youth in contact with the child welfare system. Building on an existing partnership, these units will be set aside for clients of Resource Assistance for Youth.

“The steps the government has taken today for youth aging out of care will help us protect at-risk young people during this difficult time,” said Kelly Holmes, executive director, Resource Assistance for Youth. “We are all in this together and we appreciate the timely response from the government during this time of crisis.”

A number of other changes have been put in place to support children in care and the child welfare system during the COVID-19 response. Foster home and residential care licenses will be extended for 60 days, to ensure continuation of care. The province has activated a mutual aid agreement with child welfare authorities, to help ensure staff and supports are available when they are needed. The province also continues to share current, accurate information about best practices for children, families, care providers and other partners, based on public health advice.

A comprehensive list of Manitoba government COVID-19 measures can be found at:
https://manitoba.ca/bg/2020/04/covid19.html.