The most recent installation of the Housing Matters Media Project, The 19th Birthday Party, has recieved some great coverage in the local news.
Interview with Violet Rose about The 19th Birthday Party installation at UBC.
CBC on the Coast
Aired live March 24 2014 at 4:20 pm
Start listening at 1:03:
Video: At the end of foster care
Mon Mar 24 2014
Byline: Mike Bell
A new art installation aiming to give voice to youth aging out of government care – turning 19 and becoming no longer eligible for many of the programs offered by the province – opened Monday at UBC’sPeter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies.
Entitled “19th Birthday”, the exhibit is a table set for a birthday party with six videos, produced by people who aged out of care, watched through clear-glass dinner plates.
The videos can be seen weekdays until April 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. at the Wall Institute (6331 Crescent Road) and are also available online here (www.housingmattersmedia.com).
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
‘Birthday party’ tells stories of hardship; UBC exhibit examines foster care
Tue Mar 25 2014
Section: Westcoast News
Byline: Lori Culbert
Source: Vancouver Sun
A new art exhibit at UBC is raising awareness about the plight of B.C.’s foster children, who lose their government support at 19 when they “age out” of the child welfare system.
The outcomes for these young people – compared with youth who can rely on parents for financial and emotional support beyond age 19 – are dire: fewer high school diplomas and jobs, much higher rates of homelessness and substance use.
The multimedia art exhibit – entitled The 19th Birthday Party – opened Monday at the university’s Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. It allows visitors to sit at the table of a 19th-birthday party where every spot offers a digital story told by a former child in care.
“The fragility, as well as the resilience and insight, of these youth is communicated powerfully, in their own words,” UBC law professor Margot Young said in a statement.
About 700 foster children turn 19 each year in B.C. In recent interviews with The Sun, many argued the age of support should continue until at least 21, or as high as 25, so they have more time to build stable lives.
Academic studies have shown that supporting these youth for a few more years can drastically increase their odds of success, and ultimately decrease the burden on taxpayers by reducing their reliance on social services.
Ontario and many American states have recently made improvements to their child welfare system by boosting the age of support to 21.
The art exhibit was created by Housing Matters Media Project, with support from several organizations including the Vancouver Foundation, and Canadian and B.C. art councils.
• Ric Ernst, PNG / Prof. Bob Jessop, front, and Dr. Ngai-Ling Sum watch videos made by former foster youth as part of an art installation at UBC in Vancouver on Monday.
March 25, 2014 Updated: March 25, 2014 | 12:47 pm
UBC art exhibition to create dialogue on foster care
By Kayla Isomura Metro
The 19th Birthday Party is a media art installation at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at UBC focusing on youth who age out of government care. The installation uses videos to share personal stories of aging out of care and will be open until April 4, 2014.
An art installation at UBC hopes to create solutions for teenagers who age out of foster care at 19.
The 19th Birthday Party is an ironic media art installation, which launched at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies on Monday.
Guests sit at a dinner table covered in flowers, party hats and confetti. Attached to each seat is a pair of headphones and looking a glass placemat shows a video created by someone who has aged out of the system.
“This moment, the birthday party, which so often is accompanied by all this joy of adulthood is very bittersweet and potentially scary and dark and lonely in the lives of all the youth who have experienced government care,” said project co-director Patti Fraser. “That is the juncture where there is no targeted support for them after.”
The installation is made up of six videos focusing on different experiences about aging out of foster care.
Violet-Rose Pharoah, 35, aged out of the system 15 years ago and created a video called Empty Space(s), explaining how she felt after adjusting to the loss of support and stability from social workers and foster parents.
“When I aged out all of that disappeared so it felt like my life had become weighed and it was up to me to what I was going to do,” she said. “I made a lot of mistakes, lots of learning curves and I can probably only say in the last five years I’ve been able to feel more secure in the choices that I’m making.”
Pharoah would like to see the age of aging out of the system raised to anywhere between 21 and 24.
At 18, she moved into her own apartment and later struggled to balance school and work, causing her to drop out of college.
While Fraser would also like to see the age raised, she stressed the importance of creating community resources made available to foster kids who’ve aged out of the system, including learning how to fill out tax forms, obtaining a drivers license or a bank number.
“These are really simple things that our parents or somebody adult helped us in at some point in our lives,” she said. “We as public parents need to be doing that for our youth who are aging out of foster care.”
In an email statement from Ministry of Children and Family Development spokesman Sheldon Johnson, he said the ministry is willing to explore ideas to improve foster care in B.C. He also said the province does offer support for youth transitioning from care.
The installation will run at the institute until April 4.
Youth transitioning out of foster care in B.C.:
– Approximately 8,000 people under 19 are in government care in B.C.
– 55 per cent are Aboriginal
– This year, more than 700 people will age out of the system
– 40 per cent of homeless youth have been in foster care at some point in their lives
– More than two-thirds of youth in care will turn 19 without a high school diploma
– Almost half of former youth in care will require income assistance within a few months of their 19th birthday
Source: Vancouver Foundation