First Call Monthly Updates

August 2019 Monthly Update


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:

Read on to learn more!

Yours for children and youth,

Adrienne, Helesia, Dylan, Halena, Leila, Susan, Becky, and Emily

 

 

SELECT STANDING COMMITTEE ON FINANCE AND GOVERNMENT SERVICES RELEASES BUDGET 2020 CONSULTATION REPORT

Yesterday, the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services released their Budget 2020 Consultation Report and corresponding Media Release. We are pleased to see that the media release highlights that one of the several issues that emerged as key areas for action was providing comprehensive supports to youth formerly in care.

There are a number of recommendations that reflect First Call’s budget recommendations including:

  • Continue to make comprehensive investments in child care to improve access and affordability
  • Provide ongoing and appropriate funding to ensure that children and families in BC can access publicly-funded early childhood supports and interventions.
  • Broaden the eligibility and adopt a needs-based lens for the Agreements with Young Adults program to provide comprehensive, flexible supports to former youth in care.

A number of our member organizations made submissions:
B.C. Association for Child Development and Intervention
B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils
B.C. Federation of Labour
B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union
British Columbia Federation of Students
British Columbia Schizophrenia Society
British Columbia Teachers’ Federation
Canadian Mental Health Association, British Columbia Division
Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C.
The Federation of Community Social Services of B.C.
Health Sciences Association of British Columbia
Hospital Employees’ Union
Inclusion B.C.
Parent Advocacy Network for Public Education (PAN)
Take a Hike Foundation
United Way of the Lower Mainland
West Coast LEAF

Here is the link to First Call’s (written) and (oral), Fostering Change’s (oral) and Living Wage for Families’ (written) budget submissions.

 

FOSTERING CHANGE ORGANIZES 19TH BIRTHDAY PARTY ACTION

Fostering Change had a triumphant August and is heading into the fall with a huge amount of momentum! We were so excited to see that the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services’ 2020 Budget Consultations report recognized the “number of barriers and limitations with the AYA programs as a critical area for action.” Thank you to the 11 representatives who spoke up to join Fostering Change’s call for comprehensive and universal supports for those aging out of care. Our ask was heard!

Fostering Change held our “The 19th Birthday Party You Deserve” event to recognize that some youth may not have had a 19th birthday party celebration on the year they aged out of care. We had about 90 folks attend the event and we were able feed them cake and ice cream thanks to generous donors Earnest Ice Cream and Superstore! There were “toasts” made to the audience from our team members about system changes required for when youth turn 19 and engaging activities such as our “social safety net”.

Nearing the end of August we are using our celebratory momentum to gear up for a rally! “Rallying for Change” will be a peaceful public demonstration where we can demonstrate to the Provincial Government that we support positive policy change. Everyone is welcome to attend, it will be from 2-4pm, Saturday, September 28th 2019 at Victory Square in Vancouver. We hope to see you there!

RESPONSE LETTER FROM MINISTER KATRINE CONROY ON EQUITABLE AYA SUPPORTS

Minister of Children and Family Development (MCFD) Katrine Conroy responded to our July 18, 2019 letter from the Fostering Change campaign. The letter from Minister Conroy outlines their engagement process over the past year to understand the current state of youth transitions and to identify areas for improvement.

She acknowledges the challenges our letter pointed out and agreed that the program is not flexible.

Minister Conroy has directed her executive team to report back to her on how MCFD will continue to address inequities in current practice.

FIRST CALL OUT AND ABOUT

In August, Dylan Cohen and Susan Russell, Fostering Change Campaign Organizers, visited STRIVE Vancouver to talk to youth from care about the Fostering Change campaign.

Adrienne Montani, Provincial Coordinator, spoke to nursing students at BCIT about child and family poverty and the importance of policy advocacy.  She also met with our partners at the Adoptive Families Association of BC to discuss common concerns about supports for adoptive families, and youth in and from care.

Halena Seiferling, Living Wage for Families Campaign Organizer, attended Fostering Change’s 19th Birthday Party to show support for their advocacy. She also attended a press conference with the BC Minister of Labour, Harry Bains, where Minister Bains announced the official elimination of the self-help kit for workers seeking help for employment concerns.

FIRST CALL CORRESPONDENCE AND PUBLICATIONS

Response Letter from Minister Katrine Conroy – Equitable AYA Supports

FIRST CALL IN THE NEWS

Burnaby Now: Burnaby business earns living wage designation
The Georgia Straight: Former youth in care celebrate and boost awareness about challenges of aging out of the system
Vancouver Courier: Vancouver school board avoids funding debate while teachers and province bargain
The Tyee: BC Waives Tuition for Youth from Foster Care, But It Could Do Even Better

 

FIRST CALL MEETINGS & EVENTS

Next First Call Coalition Meeting
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
9:15-11:30 am
BC Teachers’ Federation
550 West 6th Avenue (at Ash), Vancouver

Meetings are open to the public and phone participation is available. Please RSVP by emailing info@firstcallbc.org

More information and previous meeting minutes can be found here

Fostering Change Rally
Saturday September 28, 2019
2:00-4:00 pm
Vancouver, BC

Fostering Change Policy Solutions Day
Wednesday October 23, 2019
Victoria, BC

Next Early Childhood Development Roundtable

Wednesday, September 18, 2019
9:30 am-12:00 pm
United Way of the Lower Mainland
4543 Canada Way, Burnaby

Meetings are open to the public and phone participation is available. Please RSVP by emailing info@firstcallbc.org

More information and previous meeting minutes can be found here