Early childhood is a crucial, time-limited period of human development and yet, in BC, young children’s vulnerability rates have risen, families in need of quality child care face a crisis of affordability and access, wait times for early interventions for children with special needs are unacceptable, family support programming is fragile and underfunded, and young Aboriginal children continue to be over-represented in all high-risk categories due to poverty, policy neglect and the continued legacy of colonization.
The research, evidence and support for policy change and greater public investments in early childhood has grown exponentially. However, no substantive progress has been achieved because senior levels of government have chosen not to prioritize the required public investments or make necessary public policy changes. Without supportive public policy and needed services, young families will continue to be stressed by the demands of caring and earning.
We envision a province in which the rights and well-being of all BC’s young children are valued and respected in thriving families, nurturing communities and by well-resourced and comprehensive public policy.
– Make BC’s Young Children and Families a Priority: A Call to Action
First Call believes that all young children and their families should be able to access the early childhood development (ECD) supports and services that they need.
In January 2015, First Call published a new early childhood development Call to Action. Make BC’s Young Children and Families a Priority: A Call to Action builds on First Call’s previously published Early Childhood Development in BC: First Call’s Framework for Action. Our conclusion after revisiting the recommendations in the framework is that they are still relevant, but what is needed now is political will and commitment.
First Call’s 2015 ECD Call to Action:
- Advances children’s rights
- Emphasizes the primary role of families
- Supports communities
- Affirms society’s collective responsibility
- Highlights the importance of culturally safe, respectful and relevant services and supports
- Recognizes our unique relationship with, and responsibilities to, Aboriginal peoples
- Prioritizes the supports and services that are unique to the early years
- Calls on governments to build from existing services
- Affirms that we can afford to make substantial and meaningful public investments
- Provides First Call, other organizations, governments and communities with an advocacy tool
In May 2015 we sent a copy of Make BC’s Young Children and Families a Priority: A Call to Action to Premier Clark, and encouraged her government to make the evidence-based policy changes and substantial public investments required to make BC’s young children and families a provincial priority. You can read our letter here. We also sent an email to all BC MLAs with a copy of the Call to Action and the Letter to the Premier.
This Call to Action requires governments to take decisive action to fulfill our collective responsibilities to all BC’s families with young children.
– Make BC’s Young Children and Families a Priority: A Call to Action
Tell the premier you support action on early childhood!
We encourage you to show your support for young families by sending an email to Premier Clark telling her that you support this Call to Action!
We welcome other ideas from First Call partners and early childhood supporters around the province for how the Call to Action can best be shared within your community and put to use to build momentum for government action.
If you would like print copies of the Call to Action, or would like someone to speak to your organization about its recommendations, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Developing the Call to Action from the Framework for Action
The Call to Action builds on the previously published Framework for Action, a framework that defines the components that are essential for an effective early years strategy and recommends ways that those components can be interwoven, strengthened, enhanced and transformed into an intentionally integrated, adequately resourced province-wide approach to ensuring healthy child development in BC.
This groundbreaking document, published in 2003, was the result of extensive consultation and reflected a broad provincial consensus that was reaffirmed in 2006 and 2008.
In 2013 and 2014 First Call led an engagement process to review and update the Framework for Action to ensure that it reflected the latest research and integrated the diverse perspectives and collective wisdom of families and ECD partners across BC.
The engagement process included a web survey where participants could review and comment on key points in the Framework for Action and identify the ECD issues that matter to them and their community. First Call also presented to many diverse groups and solicited feedback. A mid-point review was presented to the Early Childhood Development Roundtable and the First Call coalition meeting to ascertain if any themes or organizations had been overlooked.
As a result of these extensive consultations and research, it became apparent that the recommendations from the Framework for Action are still valid and the Framework for Action is still a blueprint for action, but what is now needed is political will.
The 2015 ECD Call to Action: Make BC’s Young Children and Families a Priority
This Call to Action arose from the consensus of the partners in our Early Childhood Development Roundtable, who represent a broad range of early childhood sub-sectors, organizations and supporters. It contains a vision for our children that we are eager to work towards with all our community partners and with government policy-makers. We envision a province in which the rights and well-being of all BC’s young children are valued and respected in thriving families, nurturing communities and by well-resourced and comprehensive public policy.
We launched our Call to Action at our March 2015 First Call coalition meeting, with a presentation of our findings by Lynell Anderson, a co-author of the Call the Action. You can see a copy of her presentation slides here.
Endorsements were also offered at the meeting by several First Call member organizations:
Jason Gordon, BC Association for Child Development and Intervention
Emily Mlieczko, Early Childhood Educators of BC
Joseph Dunn, Success By 6 BC
Read the full Call to Action
Read the full Framework for Action
Use the Framework for Action’s annotated bibliography of ECD resources (updated in December 2012)
Support the $10 a Day Childcare Plan. The $10aDay Child Care Plan is the solution to BC’s child care crisis and is a proposal for an affordable, accessible and quality child care system in BC.
Read HELP’s 15 by 15: A comprehensive policy framework for early human capital investment in BC. This 2009 report by the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) built on a provincial government commitment to lower BC’s rate of early vulnerability to 15% by fiscal year 2015. HELP has completed a groundbreaking research project that quantifies the costs and benefits of addressing early vulnerability in BC. The resulting report dramatically illustrates why all of us – individuals, businesses and governments – should care about the real brain drain in BC today resulting from our failure to adequately invest in our children’s early years.
Funding and in-kind support for the 2015 ECD Call to Action generously provided by:
United Way of the Lower Mainland and the Human Early Learning Partnership
Support for this report does not necessarily imply funders’ endorsement of this campaign and all contents of this site
Funding for the Campaign generously provided by:
Support for this campaign does not necessarily imply funders’ endorsement of all the contents of this site