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
WELCOMING SUSAN RUSSELL TO FOSTERING CHANGE
We are excited to welcome Susan Russell as the new co-Campaign Organizer alongside Dylan Cohen with the Fostering Change Campaign. Susan grew up in Winnipeg, and graduated from the University of Manitoba with a B. Ed. in Physical Education and Youth Programming. She had a role in advocating for child and youth in care for six years, and is ecstatic to begin work with Fostering Change. In her spare time she enjoys petting dogs, physical activity and drinking coffee. She looks forward to continue working with the campaign!
WELCOMING BECKY KELLY (BACK) TO FIRST CALL
In May, Becky Kelly was our wonderful practicum student who worked on a variety of initiatives for First Call, including creating regional factsheets with data from our 2018 Child Poverty Report Card. We are so pleased to welcome Becky on a short-term contract as our Assistant Project Manager and Researcher with First Call.
She will continue digging into data of projects including the Child Poverty Report Card, helping create the Federal Election Toolkit, conducting pre-research for the shadow report of Canada’s response to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child recommendations, and developing various other resources.
NEW MEMBERS TO FIRST CALL’S COALITION
A warm welcome to our two newest Coalition Members!
Options Community Services is a non-profit society and registered charity based in Surrey that is dedicated to making a difference. They are committed to empowering individuals, supporting families and promoting community health. Their programs include themes of finding housing, crisis, finding work, family, and substance use.
Based in Victoria, the Family Support Institute of BC is dedicated to strengthening, connecting and building communities and resources for families of people with disabilities in BC. Directed by families, they provide information, training, and province-wide networking to assist families and their communities to build upon and share their strengths.
FIRST CALL SUBMISSIONS ON BUDGET AND NEURO-DIVERSE SPECIAL NEEDS
In June, First Call made two submissions to the provincial government. Our submission to the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth Special Project on Children and Youth with Neuro-Diverse Special Needs focused on: acting on a strong commitment to early childhood development and the evidence underscoring the importance of the early years; barriers to early identification, assessments, and referrals; the layers of inequities in obtaining needed help affecting many families; and multiple concerns about transitions to school age and adulthood.
After consulting with our members at the May coalition meeting, we sent in our submission to the Select Standing Committee On Finance and Government Services on the 2020 Budget. Our budget submission highlights five recommendations from our 2018 Child Poverty Report Card starting with important targeted poverty reduction measures for families living in deep poverty.
1. Increase income supports for families living in deep poverty
2. Invest in early childhood
3. Ensure K-12 public education funding is sufficient to mitigate inequalities and support inclusion
4. Improve supports for youth in and aging out of care and kinship caregivers
5. Ensure free access to public transit for minors and low-income families
LIVING WAGE FOR FAMILIES CAMPAIGN UPDATE
The Living Wage for Families Campaign submitted eight recommendations to the provincial government’s Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services for their consultation on the 2020 budget. Our recommendations focused on three areas: higher wages and income supports that meet the cost of living, expanded affordable child care, and more investment in high-expense areas for all family types including those without children. Read our submission here.
The Campaign also certified eleven more Living Wage Employers, bringing the total to over 150 certified employers across BC! Support your local Living Wage Employer here.
FOSTERING CHANGE STRATEGIZES AT ORGANIZING: PEOPLE, POWER, CHANGE
In June, Fostering Change Team Members had the opportunity to attend “Organizing: People, Power, Change” to develop campaign strategies. It was followed by another day long training event attended by members to strategize the campaign activities and tactics going forward. Fostering Change sends many thanks to Laura Cuthbert for facilitating that day of strategy! We look forward to unveiling this work as the campaign continues.
FIRST CALL OUT AND ABOUT
Adrienne Montani, Provincial Coordinator, Dylan Cohen, Fostering Change Campaign Organizer, and several other Fostering Change supporters spoke around British Columbia at the 2020 Budget Consultations held by the BC Finance Committee. Adrienne also presented to the Standing Committee on Children and Youth Hearing on Children with Neuro-Diverse Special Needs.
Halena Seiferling, Living Wage for Families Campaign Organizer, chaired a session at the Canadian Industrial Relations Association (CIRA) Annual Conference on living wage campaigns and the low-wage workforce. She also tabled at the Feminists Deliver conference earlier in the month and presented to BC Poverty Reduction Coalition CAN (Community Action Network) participants about campaign strategies and tactics.
FIRST CALL CORRESPONDENCE AND PUBLICATIONS
Submission to the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth Special Project on Children and Youth With Neuro-Diverse Special Needs