Storwell’s Foster Children Bursary Program Supports Former Foster Children and Youth in Care Seeking Post-Secondary Education
Foster children and youth in care are some of the most underrepresented groups when it comes to financial support for post-secondary education. According to the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, right now there are approximately 63,000 Canadian children living in permanent care with foster families, extended family, or in group homes. Despite this massive number, there are very few bursaries and scholarships for this demographic, which receive relatively little support once they exit the foster care system.
When a young person “ages out” of foster care they lose access to many of the supports available through the child welfare system. While that age varies between provinces and territories, aging out usually occurs between the ages of 18-21. Once a young person reaches that age, they are expected to live as independent adults, with only limited supports available to them. Many young people leaving foster care do not have the same educational and employment opportunities as their contemporaries, leading to an employment rate 20% less than their peers.
The vast majority of former foster youth wish to attend university, yet fewer qualified former foster youth pursue post-secondary education compared to their peers. When university or post-secondary education is pursued, significantly fewer former foster youth finish their studies compared to same age peers. This lack of advanced education can have a substantial impact on a former foster youth’s employment opportunities moving forward. The difference in earnings over a lifetime is over a million dollars between a university graduate and someone who did not complete high school.
An additional hurdle that foster children must overcome in their pursuit of post-secondary education is the stigma associated with growing up in the foster care system, which stops many students from reaching out and asking for the assistance that they require. Hopefully, as more financial initiatives become available and education about foster care becomes more widespread, this stigma will begin to dissipate and foster children and youth in care will be able to receive the attention and support that they deserve.
Considering the overwhelming lack of support that foster children and youth in care receive when it comes to financial aid, Storwell Self Storage decided to create an initiative that can help these children after they have aged out of care and as they pursue post-secondary education. The aim of the Storwell Foster Children Bursary Program is to provide foster children and youth in care with resources and opportunities that might be otherwise unavailable to them. With the proper tools, these students can work towards building a better life for themselves through the pursuit of higher education. This is an annual award of $2,000, eligibility requirements and access to the application form can be found at: https://www.storwell.com/bursary-application