People of Georgian: Early ‘turmoil’ inspires alumna’s child-rights advocacy
August 14, 2020

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The Georgian community is full of unique, inspiring perspectives —and we’re sharing them as part of an ongoing series.

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People of Georgian: Meet Jane Kovarikova

Your life is so full of turmoil and instability for the most part as a foster child. You’re bouncing from one home to another. I left care at 16, so all of a sudden I’m kind of terrified – everything’s in my hands, and I’m responsible for whether I’m going to be OK the next day.

I had foster parents look me in the eye and say, “Jane, I promise you you’re going to fail.” So let’s not forget all the negative messaging you get along the way, too. Why should it occur to you that here’s all the negative feedback you’re getting and somehow here’s the positive view of your future?

For the people who are in the foster care system, I feel that there’s not enough of an emphasis about their futures. It’s just so focused on the immediate situation – let’s make sure they’re not abused or neglected. But the truth is these children are going to grow into adults and someone’s going to have to help them own that.

‘A very bright future is possible’

The Child Welfare Political Action Committee of Canada has been approaching universities and colleges in Ontario – and we’re starting to talk in Nova Scotia – to help people raised in the care system upgrade at any point in their life. Georgian College, Laurentian and now Loyalist have announced they will waive tuition for anybody who was raised in care, without age limits.

To those who are in the system: I hope you realize a very bright future is possible, and I know how personally how difficult that was to see.

I hope whoever lands in the foster care system will be comforted at least to know that their school will be paid. That’s just a little tiny bit we can give back to level the playing field for that group.

Jane Kovarikova, Georgian alumna and founder of Child Welfare Political Action Committee of Canada.

She received a Distinguished Alumni award from Georgian’s 2020 Board of Governors Awards of Distinction. She is now a PhD candidate, and through her assistance, Georgian will be the first college in Ontario to offer free tuition to learners in or from care.