On June 6, 2018, at the Federation of BC Youth in Care Network’s (the Fed) BC Child in Youth in Care Week (BCCYICW) celebration, Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development, announced that MCFD is providing $100,000 to continue and expand the support of the Take the Wheel program. Previously funded by ICBC, the Fed will continue to run the Take the Wheel program, which provides youth in and from care across the province with the opportunity to access licensed driver training.
Youth in and from care face more barriers in getting their licenses than the general youth population, including cost of driving lessons and the potential absence of an adult who could teach them to drive. The necessity of a license, however, is the same for everyone, particularly outside the Lower Mainland. Many job opportunities require a license, and in most BC communities, having a license is essential to daily living, such as attending school, accessing community supports, and connecting with friends and family.
“For some, learning how to drive is not just a rite of passage, but a necessary, life-long practical skill, especially for those who live in areas where easy access to public transportation is not always a viable option,” Minister Conroy said at the BCCYICW event. “We want to be sure that young people who have been in care can access the same opportunities as everyone else, and gain the kind of skills many parents see as necessary for their children.”
The announcement comes at an opportune moment, with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training extending the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program to include trades training opportunities. A Class 5 license is often essential to entering the trades.
The Fed is thrilled to run Take the Wheel for another year with additional funding to support more young people from across the province. We see first-hand the life-changing opportunities that can open up for youth who get their licenses. “I think the program is extremely beneficial for anyone interested. It helped me gain confidence behind the wheel, as well as more experience with driving in general,” said Kami S., a long-time Fed member and one of last year’s Take the Wheel recipients. “Without the help of the bursary I would have never been able to do the lessons. For me it was incredibly hard to find someone I knew that was willing to teach me how. If you’re interested, apply, it’s an amazing opportunity.”
Take the Wheel will officially re-launch in the fall. Stay tuned as The Federation of BC Youth in Care Network release application dates and details.