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Transcripts of Selected Group Discussions on CYC-Net

Since it's founding in 1997, the CYC-Net discussion group has been asked thousands of questions. These questions often generate many replies from people in all spheres of the Child and Youth Care profession and contain personal experiences, viewpoints, as well as recommended resources.

Below are some of the threads of discussions on varying Child and Youth Care related topics.

Questions and Responses have been reproduced verbatim.

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Age that children remain in care?


I just recently saw in the news the announcement that, as of April 1 2015, the age that children remain in care in Scotland was raised to 21. This was accompanied by the implementation of aftercare support for former children in care up to the age of 26. I found this fascinating as the Child and Youth Care department at my university, the University of the Fraser Valley, just hosted a forum discussing the need to raise the age that children can remain in care. As of now in Canada the age is 19, at which point youth essentially lose all their support and access to services. These discussions had me wondering, until what age do children remain in care in countries other than Canada? As well, does anyone have information on where the discussion is at in regards to raising the age that children remain in care and the availability of services to former children in care, either in Canada or other countries?


Nicole Clarke

I have recently stopped working for a group providing advice, research and policy development work for care leavers in England. Last year in England, young people were given the right to stay with foster carers after 18, this is not yet extended to young people leaving residential care. There is an entitlement to aftercare support until 21 and in some circumstances to 25. Despite this we still see too many young people moving to some form of independent living at 16 or 17. There is no doubt that the direction of policy is to recognise that young people need support for longer, implementing it is more difficult. I would be glad to discuss this further.

If you are interested in international perspectives there is a book by Professor Mike Stein from York University comparing policy and practice in 20 countries. It does not seem to be on Amazon now but if you are interested I could speak to Mike about availability. He is also part of a international research group. Practice varies greatly and research my unit did in 5 European countries showed that the age varied in these from 15 to 19.

Hope this is helpful

Martin Hazlehurst

Children in Care in Canada is provincially regulated. Children here in Ontario can remain receiving support services from a CFS agency until they are 21. The service will not look like foster care (at 18 you are no longer eligible to remain in a foster home as a 'foster child') but more maintenance support as well as assisted living (learning to budget, help with getting a license, grocery shopping assistance with gaining employment or accessing education and education funding).

I believe I have heard of another province providing extended care maintenance until 24 (maybe Manitoba?).

Lisa Penner

Here in Manitoba the age is 18! However there is the option for extended care up to age 21. And it is much easier now for a youth to achieve that extension. Some agencies have stipulations that the youth must be in school and some insist they either be working or in school. Here in Winnipeg there is a not for profit program that assist youth up to age 26 in all things "adult" such as financial planning, taxes, resume writing and so on. We also have tuition waver in many of the post secondary programs for youth who are or have been in care up to age 29.

I am hoping that the province is moving to extend the age to 21 with no stipulations. In today's society it is not easy for a young person to find a career without post secondary education, and post secondary education is sooooooo expensive. Heck even finding an affordable apartment is difficult at 18.


Hi Nicole,

In California the age has historically been 18. Over the past few years the state has implemented what it calls "extended foster care for non-minor dependents". In our transitional homes the funding goes direct to the young person who then pays our organization a very affordable rent and we are able to provide Child and Youth Care related supports in their efforts to reach school, work, financial, and life skills goals. We have had young people into their early to mid twenties in the program.

You can check out the public law details at

James Freeman

Hey Everyone,

Here in BC youth age out at 19. After 19 if you are going to post secondary a youth can apply for an Agreement with a Young Adult (AYA) for ages 19-24 – basically it's only financial and tuition support. There is no extension to 21 in BC. Youth looking for help as they transition out of care look towards community services not the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) for help.

There is no support for youth aging out of care that are not going to post secondary. They are on their own and sadly we all know that leads to the welfare system and homelessness.

It's extremely sad.



I am a residential child care worker in Scotland where the law has finally changed- allowing YP to remain in care until 21. This has been influenced by the hard work of Who Cares? Scotland who have listened and reported on the views and experiences of up in care, collected signatures of support from carers, families and those working with children and young people. You can view their report and details of this pledge on

Prior to this change, in my experience over past 10 years most YP are moved on age 16-17. Hopefully this will enable yp to get the support and care they need to prepare them for leaving care.

Tracey Jarvis

I have the pleasure of working for Who Cares? Scotland and we are honoured to be part of this major change. Thanks to the bravery of some of our young care experience young people sharing their stories and the tireless effort and hard work put in by the staff team at Who Cares? We have achieved this fantastic result. On speaking to the young people I work with, it has brought relief and reassurance that come their 16th birthdays they will no longer face being discharged from local authority responsibility and the terrifying thought of having to manage unsupported at such a young and vulnerable age.

As an ex manager of a residential children’s home and having worked in this field for over 25 years I am delighted for the young care experienced people in Scotland and I hope other countries can follow on where required.

Alison Marzella

The age is 18 here in Oregon. Unless there is a documented disability in which case they would likely be moved to an adult home specializing in the care they may need.

Michelle Turpin

Just a bit of clarification British Columbia and Yukon are the only provinces in Canada where the age out of care is 19. Many other provinces, such as Ontario, the age is 16.

Marlena Holynski

In Ohio (USA), so long as a county or other funding source is paying the per diem, a person can remain in care until his 22nd birthday.

Scott Knapp

Here in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Youth would age out at 18, unless their issues would warrant extended care until they are able to function on their own with community supports/part-time home care or being able to get into a full-time adult care program.

Hope this helps.

Alan Mitchell

The age of care in Alberta Canada is up until their 24th birthday. This changed last August.

Tracy Hair

The age of care in Nova Scotia is up to the age 24 years.

Gig McMullin

In Québec, youth age out of care at age 18 when the youth protection mandate no longer applies. This practice is being questioned and some of our youth centres have begun to develop resources and practices allowing youth to stay in care until age 20. In some of our youth centres financial support is available from foundations after youth leave care at 18 but this is limited to youth undertaking post high school studies. A lot more needs to be done and in my place of work I am a strong advocate and working closely with current and alumni youth of care to provoke changes.


Minnesota is 21. And we have transition services for kids who have experienced homelessness through 24.

Peter DeLong


I find this “aging out of care” topic interesting since it got me to search and read all about foster care system in the country I was born from, Philippines. I found that, there is NO “specific age” determining whether the child should move out of care. Whether the youth reaches at certain age, it is up to the youth to talk to the foster parents if he/she wants to move out of their care. But here in BC most young people age out of care at 19, though they leave with some opportunities for transitional supports available. It was stated that youth between the ages of 19-24 who were previously in care or were previously in a “Youth Agreement”, which they can apply to, are also eligible to take part in the “Agreements with Young Adults” program. This program will provide support and assistance for up to 24 months for youth to: complete HS, attend post-secondary education or vocational training and complete rehabilitation programs to address any barriers to self-sufficiency.

Tara Navarro

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