Bursaries for Former Foster Children

Bursary Program Aims to Help Former Youth in Care Pursue Post-Secondary Education

According to a report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW), adults with a bachelor’s degree earn an average of $2.8 million during their careers, $1.2 million more than the median for workers with a high school diploma. While post-secondary education is not the sole indicator of future employment, it continues to be one of the most important factors that employers look for when young people enter the workforce.

Based on data from Statistics Canada, the average cost of a four-year university degree starting in 2022 is $96,004 for students in residence, or $48,074 for students living at home. The financial burden of post-secondary education is a nearly insurmountable hurdle for many former foster children and youth in care who age out of foster care and lose access to the supports available to them through the child welfare system.

While many young people across Canada receive financial assistance from their parents well into their 20s, youth leaving foster care are expected to be completely independent at the age of 18. This lack of support after youth age out of care means that many foster children end up forgoing post-secondary school altogether and often struggling to even obtain stable housing. Research shows a significant relationship between adult homelessness and a history of living in foster care.

Those former foster children and youth in care who do go on to pursue post-secondary school, end up having a significantly higher drop-out rate compared to their same aged peers. The financial burden of post-secondary education is felt particularly strongly by Indigenous children, who continue to be overrepresented within the Canadian foster care system. Throughout Canada, more than 3% of Indigenous children living in private households in 2021 were in foster care compared to the 0.2% of non-Indigenous children.

The Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada reports that there are currently over 60, 000 children living in permanent care with foster families, in group homes, or in some kind of kinship care. Despite these staggering statistics, there are very few bursaries and scholarships targeted towards this vulnerable demographic. For the last decade, Storwell Self Storage has been providing foster children and youth in care with resources and opportunities through the Storwell Foster Children Bursary Program. The $2,000 bursary is awarded each year to a deserving candidate who was once a part of the foster care system and is pursuing their post-secondary education.

Eligibility requirements and access to the application form can be found at: https://www.storwell.com/bursary-application

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