Former Youth in Care Receive over $1 Million for Education and Training

VICTORIA, BC, Oct. 29 /CNW/ - One hundred and eighty-six youth formerly in government care received over $1 million this year to assist them in pursuing post-secondary education and training, announced Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson today.

"This funding makes a difference in the lives of young adults who have spent time in care," said Richardson. "We are pleased to partner with government in helping these youth pursue education and get ahead."

The funds are from the Youth Education Assistance Fund (YEAF), established by the Ministry of Children and Family Development in 2002 and held by the Victoria Foundation.

"The reality is that young people coming out of care often don't have the kinds of strong family or community support needed to help them with their transition into adulthood," said Minister of Children and Family Development Mary Polak. "Programs like YEAF and the ministry's Agreements with Young Adults help support these youth to pursue their education and training goals, building better futures for them and their families."

The Youth Education Assistance Fund provides B.C. youth formerly in continuing care with a bursary of up to $5,500 a year to help cover expenses such as tuition, fees, books or living expenses while attending college, university or vocational training. The bursary can be received for up to four years.

The Youth Education Assistance Fund is managed by the Victoria Foundation and administered by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development. Since its creation, the Fund has distributed over $4.7 million to more than 600 young adults between the ages of 19 and 23 pursuing post-secondary education. The bursary amount is established each year, and has increased regularly to the current maximum of $5,500 per year.

The Victoria Foundation is a community foundation that manages funds gifted to them either in perpetuity or for specific purposes, such as the Youth Education Assistance Fund. The funds or the earnings from them are then distributed through grants for charitable purposes.

Since 2002, the Ministry of Children and Family Development has provided the Victoria Foundation with $7 million for the Youth Education Assistance Fund. With distributions of $4.7 million and a fund balance of $3.2 million, an additional $900 thousand will benefit former youth in care as a result of this fund being invested and managed by the Foundation.

For more information on the Youth Education Assistance Fund or to donate to it, visit the Foundation website at www.victoriafoundation.bc.ca or call 250-381-5532.

SOURCE Victoria Foundation

For further information: For further information: Media information contact: Sharlene Smith, Victoria Foundation, (250) 658-1583; Christine Ash, Ministry of Children and Family Development, (250) 356-1639

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