Foster children and youth in care are some of the most underrepresented groups when it comes to financial support for post-secondary education. A 2012 study in the medical journal, The Lancet observed that Manitoba’s rate of children in care is among the highest in the world. Despite these startling numbers, there are very few bursaries and scholarships targeted towards this demographic, which receive relatively little support once they exit the foster care system.
For every 1,000 youths in Canadian foster care, only eight go on to graduate with a post-secondary education. One of the largest barriers to entry for children in foster care is the financial burden that comes along with post-secondary education. 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. Statistics Canada‘s latest release of 2021 census data shows Indigenous children accounted for 53.8% of all children in foster care. This number has gone up slightly compared to the 2016 census, when Indigenous children accounted for 52.2% of children in care.
When a young person “ages out” of foster care they lose access to many of the supports available through the child welfare system. Youth leaving foster care also often have strained connections with family and may struggle to build a strong support network. While many young people across Canada continue to rely on their parents for housing, financial, and emotional support well into their 20s, youth leaving foster care are expected to be completely independent at the age of 18. This means they may not have anyone to fall back on if they miss a bill payment, are temporarily out of work, or a large expense comes up.
To help combat 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. For over two decades, Storwell has been dedicated to giving back to the local community through various charitable causes and social initiatives, along with providing affordable and accessible self-storage units in Toronto and the GTA.
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. Eligibility requirements and access to the application form can be found at: https://www.storwell.com/bursary-application