Supporting Youth After Aging-Out of Foster Care via The Link
The Link acts as the intake umbrella program for all of Aunt Leah’s services and resources for former foster youth, offering youth in/from care an experience that is more akin to that of their parented peers. The Link has scaled itself organically and sustainably since 2006 to serve over 300 youth and their dependents per annum in multiple domains.
For youth in transition, The Link works to provide a continuum of care and planning past age 19, by the same trusted people who cared for them before the age of 19. As of September 28th, 2018, Link became and an accredited life skills program through the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD), meaning that eligible young adults from foster care can receive extra funding through Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) to attend programming through Branches AYA Life Skills Program.
THE LINK DROP-IN & OUTREACH acts as the one-to-one life skills provider for Aunt Leah’s former foster youth. Last year The Link distributed 2144 Transit Tickets, provided 3738 Meals or Groceries, and created 6748 Connections (e.g. Meetings, Phone Calls) for Link youth.
The Link is for Aunt Leah’s Support Link program graduates or any youth formerly in the care of the Ministry of Child and Family Development. No referrals are required for this program.
Services can be provided by dropping into the office Wednesdays and Thursdays between 11:00 and 4:00 or by arranging an appointment with the LINK Coordinator, 236-521-7369 ext 105.
Aunt Leah’s Place supports youth by providing:
- No age restrictions
- A trusted transition worker for one on one support and guidance to help create goals and plan for the future
- Help with resumes, job searching, and employment programs
- Emergency food and clothing
- Safe and secure housing, rent subsidies or information on suitable housing (BC Housing, HELPS, The Link: Housing First)
- Application help for income assistance and/or disability support
- Use of computer with Internet, printer, and telephone
We also provide fun activities, opportunities to be creative through art and music, and weekly drop-in gatherings each Wednesday & Thursday. If you are a young person who is eligible for Aunt Leah’s Link program, or a social worker calling on behalf of a client, and need assistance with the transition to adulthood, please call The Link Coordinator at 604-525-1204 ext. 224.
Outcomes and Evaluation
The purpose of this evaluation study was to assess the Link’s effectiveness and to identify promising approaches that support youth from foster care, in order to prevent or reduce homelessness amongst this highly vulnerable population of Canadian young people.
The evaluation involved a quasi-experimental design wherein individual interviews were conducted with a sample of Link participants (n=21) and a sample of youth from foster care who did not access the Link (i.e., Comparison Group, n=22). The youths were interviewed twice, about 9 months apart (Time 1 and Time 2).
Interviews were also conducted with Link and Aunt Leah’s staff (n=6) and with support people identified by several of the youths (n=4). The study also included a brief analysis of the Link’s social return on funders’ investment—most specifically, with regard to homelessness outcomes.
This longitudinal evaluation also produced four ‘mini reports’ focused on the domains of FOOD SECURITY, EDUCATIONS, INCOME and SUPPORTS. These brief reports offer a summary of findings related to these domains based on interviews with youth from foster care at Time 1 and at Time 2. Click on the titles below to read these reports.
- Avoiding the Precipice: Link Program Evaluation, FULL REPORT
- Avoiding the Precipice: Link Program Evaluation, SUMMARY
- Eviter le précipice: Une évaluation du programme de Link, RAPPORT COMPLET
- BRIEF REPORT ON FOOD SECURITY: Aunt Leah’s Link Program
- BRIEF REPORT ON EDUCATION: Aunt Leah’s Link Program
- BRIEF REPORT ON INCOME: Aunt Leah’s Link Program
- BRIEF REPORT ON SUPPORTS: Aunt Leah’s Link Program
This program meets the standards for Accreditation through CARF (Commission for the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) International.
This program is generously supported by:
This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy.
The Vancouver Foundation
The City of Vancouver generously supports Aunt Leah’s Link Program with Vancouver Youth Outreach
This program is also possible thanks to the Aunt Leah’s social purpose real estate partnership with Central City Foundation at its main Youth Resource Hub and Head Office at 816 Twentieth Street, New Westminster, BC