A young woman who recently aged out of government care was found dead earlier this week in a tent in Surrey, officials said.
The 19-year-old was found in a tent at King George Boulevard and 132 Street on Wednesday afternoon, said Jeff Rud, spokesperson for B.C.’s representative for children and youth. He could not confirm how long ago she had turned 19.
B.C. Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux was unavailable to speak to The Leader directly, but she did issue an emailed statement regarding the death of the young woman.
“This young person’s death is a tragedy and I feel for the family and friends,” said Cadieux. “Without speaking to any specific case, I can tell you that we would automatically conduct a case review into the death of a 19-year-old who, in the previous 12 months, had been in the ministry’s care. This allows us to refine our policies and practices where needed.”
Also in the statement, a ministry spokesperson noted the majority of youth are not looking to remain in foster care into their adult years and are instead looking for a degree of supported independence and the ability to access ongoing resources to help them follow their own individual plans for adulthood.
“We recognize there is always more we can do, and there are a number of efforts underway across government aimed at better supporting young people as they transition from care. Currently, however, the services and programs we can provide are all voluntary. The ministry has no legal authority to force someone to engage with the resources that are available to them.”
The B.C. Coroners Service confirmed it is investigating the case as well.