FLOH (Foster system, Life promotion, Opioid dialogue, Harm reduction/Homelessness) is a program currently under development by over 20 youth (age 14 to 24) across 4 communities in BC’s Fraser-Salish/Fraser Health region (Tri-Cities, Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack). While not limited to youth with experience in the foster system, more than half of the youth so far involved have had direct involvement with the system, and the rest have been strongly affected by the system through family and friends.
Though FLOH focuses on a number of topics, it puts youth (and especially Aboriginal youth) with experience in government care front-and-centre, as, statistically, their health outcomes are perhaps the most concerning of any demographic in our communities… including outcomes related to suicide (Life promotion), opioid and opioid contaminated street drug use (Opioid dialogue), and being supported and met where they are (Harm reduction).
If conditions improve for these youth, we’re confident they will also improve for the rest of the individuals in our communities. In modern society’s crisis of connection, we believe the health outcomes for these youth could also be a strong indicator of the health of our society in general.
We gratefully acknowledge the funders of FLOH: Vancouver Foundation (Fostering Change), Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research (CISUR), Province of BC, Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks, First Nations Health Authority Indigenous Harm Reduction, Fraser Health Authority – Aboriginal Health, Doctors of BC, BC Children’s Hospital, Canucks Kids Fund, and Abby Schools.
Youth inspiring their communities to build a culture where young people with experience in the foster system—and their concerns and passions—are seen, heard, included, and celebrated.