One of the public policy questions that emerged shortly after the launch of the RDSP at the end of 2008, was: “Who should act as account holders of RDSPs of children in care once they become adults?”
Children in care with special needs could easily be a group that is excluded from the benefit of the RDSP, yet there is probably not a group that could derive a greater benefit from it.
The Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia began opening RDSPs on behalf of children in care with special needs. Shortly thereafter, they identified the issue of future administration of these RDSPs. In short, the issue is that the PGT’s legal authority to act as Account Holder on behalf of children in care ends on December 31st of the year of their 18th birthday. For a variety of reasons, PGT felt that it was not appropriate to seek legal authority to continue to act as account holder for the RDSPs of all of these children once they become adults.
PGT brought the question to PLAN, as originators of the RDSP. It became immediately clear that there would not be a simple solution. These young adults represented as diverse a group of people as one could imagine; any solution would need to look at personal situations.
With support from the Law Foundation of BC and HRSDC—and in partnership with PGT, Ministry for Children and Families, Ministry of Social Development, Community Living BC and RDSP Resource Centre—PLAN carried out a pilot project.
The outcome of the project is a policy paper entitled, RDSP: Implications for Children in Care. The paper makes numerous recommendations for various provincial entities and the federal government. We see it as a starting point, identification of the issues that need to be overcome to enable children in care to benefit from the RDSP. It’s also a basic primer to encourage and assist other provinces who have not opened RDSPs for children in care to do so.
The paper needs to be disseminated, decision-makers need to discuss the issues and implement solutions. Please feel free to pass the paper on to interested parties and contact Kristi (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jack Styan (email@example.com) if you have comments or questions.
Download the paper here: RDSP-Children-in-Care-FINAL-22-08-11