The BC government is investing $264 million over the next three years to increase financial supports for foster and extended family caregivers and for those caring for children, youth and adults with support needs. This includes increases to care provider rates by up to 47% to address cost-of-living increases, including recognizing the costs of housing and internet access. Budget 2023 also provides funding to increase service and relief rates accordingly. The increased supports recognize the important role that foster and extended family care providers play in nurturing the children and youth in their care. The investment ensures that BC can continue to recruit and retain caregivers across BC to provide the quality and continuity of care that children and youth in care deserve. Increased funding for kinship and out-of-care caregivers increases the likelihood that a child or youth can be well-supported without having to come into care, while maintaining connections with their family, community, and culture.

Respite supports are equally critical to families and caregivers. This funding will also increase the annual respite rates by over 34% for those caring for people with support needs. This includes families of children and youth with support needs and of adults living with developmental disabilities served through Community Living BC.

Rate Increases for Foster Caregivers, Kinship and Out of Care Caregivers

Effective April 1, 2023, the maintenance rates for foster, kinship and out of care caregivers will see an up to 47% increase to their maintenance rates:

Maintenance Rates (Monthly) Current Rate Rate Effective April 1, 2023
Children aged 0-11 $1024.64 $1465.86
Youth aged 12-19 $1124.19 $1655.91

Monthly service payments for all levels of foster caregivers will also increase by nearly 30%.

Service Rates (Monthly) Current Rate Rate Effective April 1, 2023
Level 1 $458.02 $591.90
Level 2 – 1 child $1140.40 $1473.74
Level 2 – 2 children $1968.68 $2544.13
Level 2 – 3 or more children $2692.92 $3480.06
Level 3 – 1 child $1816.66 $2347.67
Level 3 – 2 children $3113.12 $4023.08

Daily rates for relief care for all levels of foster caregivers will also increase by up to 36%.

An increase of more than 30% will come to the annual maximum respite payment to $4,135.55 which will benefit families of children/youth with support needs in the province.

Additional funding will better support out-of-care and kinship caregivers through the introduction of the Enhanced Out-of-Care (EOOC) agreements. These agreements will provide comprehensive, wrap-around supports to eligible children and youth with significant functional support needs and their out-of-care/kinship providers as we work to create a seamless network of care and supports to keep children and youth with family wherever possible, connected to community and culture.

Youth Transitioning into Adulthood

New investments of $5.2 million for the continuation of the phased implementation of wrap around support for youth transitioning from care into adulthood. These increases build on accomplishments enabled through Budget 2022 including:

  • A no-limit earnings exemption; employment income is now exempt when determining the level of funding a young adult will receive through the Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) program.
  • Youth Transition Workers to support youth in care starting as young as age 14 and guide them until age 25 in accessing services and supports.
  • The implementation of a new $600 rent supplement program to help eligible young adults from care to live independently and afford their rent. A second intake is scheduled will open March 6, at 8:00 AM and close March 20, 2023 at 11:59 PM.

Child and Youth Mental Health (CYMH) Services

New investments of $2.7 million for the continuation of the phased implementation of the expansion of psychologists supports into the Childhood Development Centres.

  • In Budget 2021, the government committed over $70 million over three years towards expanding child and youth mental health services as part of government’s new $97 million investment in the Improved Wellness for Children, Youth and Young Adults pillar of A Pathway to Hope.
  • This began with $20 million in funding in 2021, $23 million in 2022 and it continues this year with a further $26 million.
  • This includes:
    • Growing early years mental health programs, including funding for more infant mental health clinicians, behavioural supports, family support workers, and infant development and Indigenous infant development programs;
    • Supporting service delivery teams of clinicians and others to help youth who struggle with substance use issues;
    • And increasing preventative mental wellness activities in early years settings and in schools

Children and Youth with Support Needs (CYSN)

New investments of $34.5 million for services to children and youth with support needs that are currently underserved including children and youth with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and other neuro-cognitive developmental disabilities:

  • Providing funding for an additional 90 foundational program therapist across the province for programs such an infant development, early intervention, and school-aged therapies though investment in Childhood Development Centres or similar organizations in every community in the province
  • Doubling the budget for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Key Worker program which will allow support for approximately 2,500 additional families of children and youth with FASD
  • 60% budget increase to agency-coordinated respite which will enable the program to expand to all regions of the province
  • Adding an additional 175% above the province’s current investment in School Aged Extended Therapy by doubling hourly reimbursement rates from $80/hr to $160/hr and increasing the annual maximum reimbursement to $5,760 per year

New funding will support service model engagement and evaluation; working with MCFD’s Indigenous partners on the delivery of CYSN servies for their communities, and workforce investments that increased services demand.

In recognition of their obligation under the Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the ministry is committed to engaging with their partners on cultural appropriate service delivery model for their communities.  The budget provides for $4 million dollars for engagement and service delivery planning.

Budget 2023/2024 also provides the following:

  • Social work and therapist assistants to support social worker and therapists to spend more time with children, youth and families
  • Expanded access to ‘city-based remote workers’
  • Additional workers into the sector through post-secondary and graduate incentives to attract new workers
  • Additional supports to the province’s commitment to continue individualized autism funding made in November 2022
  • Additional investment of $6 million for the implementation of the four family connection centre pilots

Honourable Katrine Conroy, Minister of Finance, presents the 2023 Budget