There is more straight talking in reports of a debate also taking place in Canada. Steve Gaetz of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness is reported to have told a meeting in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, that there is a strong link between the lack of support for young people leaving care and youth homelessness.
Gaetz said that his research in Toronto had revealed that more than 40% of homeless young people come from foster care or group homes. He argues that while more than 40% of Canadians in their 20s still live with their parents, young people are required to leave care at 18 with ‘Happy birthday. Here’s a card. Here’s all your clothes in a bag.’ That, he says, is setting these young people up to fail.
He is perfectly right to argue that care leavers need to be funded until their mid twenties. And it is basic commonsense to say, as he does, that although to do so will cost money, it is an investment that will pay off. Not to do so risks creating a group of homeless young people who cannot be competitive in the labour market.