Information for high school students in care and youth transitioning out of care
Last updated: March 11, 2021
On this page:
- Know your rights
- Indigenous youth in care
- Youth in care with disabilities or diverse abilities
- Take care of your mental wellness and safety
- Indigenous children or youth in care
- Children and youth with disabilities or diverse abilities
- Graduation supports
- Transitioning out of high school and foster care
- Post-secondary supports and grants for youth and young adults
- Adult learners
Youth in care have protected rights.
It is your right to be safe, healthy and heard. Safe may look and feel different for every person. You also have the right to stay connected with your family, culture and community. Learn more about your rights.
As this World Children's day video shows, each child and youth deserves to be supported to make world a better place. If you are not feeling safe, heard or supported talk to your social worker, teacher, family members or other adults you trust. The Representative for Children and Youth can also help you. You can also reach out to them if someone you know is in care and feels unsafe.
If you identify as an Indigenous youth in care, you have the right to stay connected to your culture, community and land. You also have the right to receive guidance, encouragement and support to learn about and practice your traditions, customs and languages. Traditional teachings can help you learn more about who you are and help you get through tough times. Stay connected to your culture. Ask your social worker, youth worker, teachers and community elders to help. Your local Aboriginal Friendship Centre can also help you connect to your culture.
Youth with a disability or diverse ability have the right to take part in all school activities. Your rights protect you from unfair treatment based on your disability.
Being in care can be stressful. It is normal for stress to cause our bodies to tense up, have a stomach ache or feel stuck. Here are some resources to that might help relieve your stress. The Fight Flight Freeze – Anxiety Explained for Teens video shows you how our bodies react to stress. The MindShift™ CBT app can help you manage stress. Bounce Back is a free program that can teach you to deal with low mood, depression, anxiety, stress or worry. Teen Mental Health site can help you better understand your mental health, and when to reach out for help.
If you feel like you need help with your fears, anger or other emotions, ask for help. Talk to your teacher, school counsellor or another adult you trust. You can also visit one of the Foundry clinics. For more youth mental health services and resources, visit Mental Health Digital Hub.
If you are in crisis, call the Helpline for Youth at 310-1234. If you are an Indigenous youth, you can also reach out to the Hope for Wellness Help Line, Kuu-us Crisis 24/7 Line, and the Metis Crisis Line. If you or someone else is in danger, try to get to a safe place first and then call 9-1-1.
Taking high school courses can help you different educational and career paths. You can choose to work towards:
- High school graduation
- Upgrade for work
- Prepare for entering a post-secondary program
Learn more about your education paths or talk to your teacher or career counsellor for more help.
You should also be familiar with what options are available to students that have aged out of care.
Preparing to leave your high school and foster care can be exciting and difficult at the same time. It can be a time of discovery as new doors to your future open up. However, becoming an adult also means you will have to begin making more of your own decisions. If you ever find yourself needing help, contact your local Ministry of Children and Family Development office.
Encourage trusted adults in your life to support you in timely planning for transition. Planning can be a lengthy process.
Visit Aging out of Foster Care and AgedOut.Com for more information on what supports are available to you. The Post-secondary supports and grants for youth and young adults and Adult learners sections of this website also provide information on supports are available to you during your transition to adulthood.
After you finish high school, you might want to explore your post-secondary options. Most post-secondary programs and courses have tuition or fees associated with them. Education expenses can also include textbooks, stationery supplies, uniforms or specialized tools. You will need to plan how to pay these expenses.
There are also other programs and grants to help you continue your education.
The Provincial Tuition Waiver Program removes tuition fees for former B.C. youth in care. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply. You may also qualify for the Youth Futures Education Fund. This fund covers living expenses such as rent, food, and transportation.
The Agreements with Young Adults Program is for students who were in foster care or had a Youth Agreement. If you are in
- Rehabilitation or
- A life program
This program can help pay for things like housing, childcare, tuition and health care.
If you identify as an Indigenous student in B.C., there are additional options to support your learning. Find out what scholarships or bursary opportunities are available to Indigenous students.
If you have a permanent disability you may qualify for B.C. Access Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities. This program helps full-time students cover the cost of their education.
If you were in government care and are attending a post-secondary institution on a provincial tuition waiver program can access the Youth Futures Education Fund. This fund covers living expenses such as rent, food, and transportation. You can also apply for the Public Guardian and Trustee Education Assistance Fund and the Dream Fund. These two funds can support your education and skill building goals.
Young parents under the age of 25 might qualify for the Young Parent Program. This program can help you with childcare while you are finishing high school. It provides help finding a space for your child in a care program at or near the school you’re attending.
The WorkBC Youth in and From Care Inclusion Group program offers employment services. They also provide offer employment counselling in your last year of school.
EducationPlannerBC features scholarships and bursaries for students, including specific bursaries for Indigenous students. More information on other supports check out Beyond Bursaries on AgedOut.com. If you need help with career planning, ask your school counsellors, guardians, and social workers for help.
If you are 18 and older you can enroll in the Adult Basic Education (ABE) program. This will allow you to take courses as credit towards their Adult Graduation Diploma. You can take courses at:
- A school district
- Continuing education centres
- A post-secondary institution
Courses can be taken at school district, continuing education centres or at a post-secondary institution. Find out more about the Adult Graduation Diploma.
School districts offer tuition-free high school courses. These courses are often flexible and can include face-to-face, self-paced and/or online learning.
Find out what courses are available for you.