Foster foster kids in B.C. to get access to money for non-tuition fees

VANCOUVER – Former foster children in British Columbia will soon have access to a $200,000 fund that will help pay for non-tuition expenses if they can’t afford to attend post-secondary school.

The project is launched by the credit union Coast Capital Savings and will cover costs such as rent, utilities, food and transportation.

Children’s advocate Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has told a news conference that youth who have been in government care deserve the same opportunities as others to attend university or college, but many face financial obstacles.

Last year, Turpel-Lafond challenged B.C.’s post-secondary schools to waive tuition fees for former youth in care, and she says Vancouver Island University has done so, while the University of B.C. will begin in September.

Children’s Minister Stephanie Cadieux says the government already offers programs to help youth formerly in care get into post-secondary school, but the province can’t take on the task alone and needs support from other organizations.

The fund will be managed by the Vancouver Foundation, and is expected to be available to eligible students in the fall.