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The Government of Saskatchewan is further extending support services to youth in care who would normally be transitioning to independence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The extension, which was set to end on June 30, 2020, will now be extended up to January 5, 2021. This means that any young person who “ages out of care” during this time will have greater choice in their planning for transition to independence.

“We want young people to have options available to them when planning for their transition to independence that ensure their safety and well-being during the pandemic,” Social Services Minister Paul Merriman said.

The original extension of supports was announced as part of the Social Services Pandemic Plan on March 31, 2020. Case workers are contacting impacted youth and their caregivers to let them know about the option to extend supports and services up to January, 2021. Youth also continue to have the option of transitioning earlier if they wish.

The Child Welfare League of Canada and several youth in care networks, including the Saskatchewan Youth in Care and Custody Network (SYICCN), have continued to call on child welfare leaders across Canada to ensure delays are not lifted at this time.

“We are pleased the Ministry of Social Services is extending the moratorium on youth aging out of care until January 5, 2021,” SYICCN Provincial Outreach Coordinator Richard Rothenburger said. “We look forward to continued work with the Ministry of Social Services to ensure the health and wellbeing of youth in care during and after this pandemic.”

The total cost to extend services up to January 5, 2021, is anticipated to be around $1.5 million, and will increase the number of young people who will be eligible for extended supports while they plan for their transition to independence from 44 to almost 180.

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