First Call Monthly Updates

March 2017 Monthly Update


Provincial election toolkit – new coalition members – First Call input on child care funding – and more!

March 2017

Welcome to our monthly update about First Call’s advocacy work and key developments in child and youth policy in BC.

Highlights this month include:

  • First Call’s provincial election toolkit is now online
  • New coalition members
  • New VCC volunteers
  • A wrap for Art for Change
  • First Call gives input on federal child care funding
  • First Call out and about
  • First Call in the news
  • First Call correspondence and publications

Read on to learn more!

Yours for children and youth,
John, Adrienne, Julie and Deanna

 

PROVINCIAL ELECTION TIME!

First Call’s 2017 Provincial Election Toolkit is now online, and party responses to questions in it will be published prior to voting day. A number of coalition members have published their own election toolkits, which we’ve gathered here in a list we’ll update as the May 9 election approaches.

Adrienne Montani will share key points from the First Call toolkit in a webinar on April 5 with Trish Garner of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition and Deanna Ogle of the Living Wage for Families Campaign, which needs your support in calling on the BC government to become a living wage employer at GoodJobsBC.ca!

COALITION UPDATE

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Dr. C.J. Patricelli, Kelowna Child Care Society and the Foster Parent Support Services Society, the three newest members of the First Call coalition—now 101-members strong.

At the March coalition meeting, BC’s new Representative for Children and Youth, Bernard Richard, had a chance to introduce himself and his priorities to coalition members, as well as hear from some of the experts around the table.

Our partners from Canadian Mental Health Association-BC also shared their b4stage4 campaign, calling for a system of care that values mental health and addiction as much as physical health. First Call joined the organizations endorsing this campaign. We urge more of our coalition member organizations to do the same.

WELCOME VCC VOLUNTEERS

From now until mid-June, First Call will work with Nicole Low and Daniel Roque, practicum students in the Nursing program at Vancouver Community College. Please say hi if you see Nicole and Daniel at the next coalition meeting, as we’ve got great projects planned for them in the coming weeks!

A WRAP FOR ART FOR CHANGE: HIGHLIGHTING YOUTH VOICES IN POVERTY REDUCTION ADVOCACY

This joint project with The Society for Children and Youth of BC (SCY) built on their Photovoice work with youth in New Westminster and Abbotsford telling visual stories of their experiences aging out of foster care, with support from the Vancouver Foundation’s Fostering Change initiative.

Several youth were able to showcase their work and tell their stories in First Call’s 2016 BC Child Poverty Report Card, and again at the February fundraising gala. See the full set of Photovoice images here.

MCFD INVITES INPUT ON FEDERAL CHILD CARE FUNDING

Following discussion at First Call’s recent Early Childhood Development Roundtable meeting, Ministry of Children and Family Development staff invited input on options for government’s consideration on how to spend anticipated new federal child care funding.

A background document was prepared outlining key principles to guide the use of these federal dollars, and ensure they are all spent to strengthen or create affordable licensed child care. Among the suggestions made were calls to improve accountability for public investments in child care and address the urgent needs of particularly vulnerable populations, as well as the importance of system-building—as opposed to more individual subsidies.

The document will be posted soon with the March minutes here, and the next ECD Roundtable meeting is scheduled for May 17, 2017.

FIRST CALL OUT AND ABOUT

On March 6, First Call provincial coordinator Adrienne Montani joined Deanna Ogle from the Living Wage for Families Campaign and Catherine Ludgate from Vancity, to speak to the Vancouver Parks Board in support of endorsing the City of Vancouver’s living wage policy commitment. Parks Board commissioners unanimously agreed.

Adrienne also participated in a panel at a SFU forum on March 8 hosted by the BC Institute for Public Education to discuss underfunding of public education in BC.

FIRST CALL CORRESPONDENCE AND PUBLICATIONS

March 9: BC Budget 2017 fails to fill the hole we’ve dug for children, youth and families
March 10: First Call coalition submissions to the RCY Act review
March 16: Letter to Health Minister Terry Lake on Reduction of Child Care Play Space

FIRST CALL IN THE NEWS

CBC – On the Coast: Poverty hard on B.C. students and teachers, educator says
Richmond News: Lower taxes vs. social services shape election debate in Richmond
Public Education Network: Hunger to Learn: Will BC’s hungry kids finally receive the hearing and help they need?
East Kootenay News Online Weekly: Poverty in Cranbrook: A story of social potholes
Vancouver Sun: BC’s working poor: Meet the people whose jobs don’t pay the bills
Vancouver Sun: Opinion: Who will defend public education?
Vancouver Sun: BC’s working poor: Low-wage jobs keep many living paycheque to paycheque
Vancouver Sun: BC’s working poor: Affordable child care key to lifting families out of poverty
Vancouver Sun: BC’s working poor: Affordability crisis hits low-income earners hardest
Times Colonist: Affordable child care seen as key to lifting families out of poverty