First Call Monthly Updates

May 2018 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, Deanna, Helesia, Dylan, Emily and Kaleb

 

FIRST CALL PRESENTATION TO THE JOINT PUBLIC MEETING ON TRANSIT

On May 24, 2018, First Call presented to the joint public meeting of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation and TransLink’s Board of Directors. First Call’s comments added to those from a delegation of speakers including the Single Mothers’ Alliance of BC and the TripEd Campaign.

First Call drew attention to Recommendation #20 from our 2017 BC Child Poverty Report Card:
The provincial government should work with local governments and transit authorities to develop a plan that will provide free public transit for minors (ages 0-18) and free or reduced-fee transit access for low income families.

In addition, we recommended Translink:

  • stop fining minors for fare evasion; and
  • look at the potential negative implications of distance-pricing on low income households.

We need a fair transit fare structure to ensure no low-income parent, child or youth misses a doctor’s appointment, a day at school or a visit to the community centre because public transportation is unaffordable.

 

EPISODE 8: AS WORD SPREADS PODCAST LAUNCHED

The As Word Spreads podcasts began in 2017 with John Kennedy’s leadership. The series serves the interests of youth in and from care in BC by featuring their stories and experiences. First Call is proud to launch the eighth episode in the series, called Boundaries ft. Speak-Out Youth, in collaboration with the Adoptive Families Association of BC. Listen to youth in and from government care discuss aging out of care, staying connected to families, and more. They explore their own definition and experiences with boundaries, and continue to echo that youth have the ability to make decisions for themselves. It ends with a final message: “Let’s work together to inspire change.”

 

FOSTERING CHANGE UPDATE

Dylan Cohen, Youth Organizer, held a two-day training with alumni of care and OrganizeBC to discuss strategy, lobbying, tactics, and some creative organizing principles. The workshop, titled Winning Change from the Government, hosted over 20 youth. Participants left the workshop feeling energized by the momentum created and will put their learnings into action through the Youth Advocacy Team and other advocacy opportunities.

Dylan was recently featured in a StarMetro Vancouver article about the Coroner’s Report on youth in care

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT ROUNDTABLE

Our May Coalition meeting featured an informative presentation on the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI)-inclusive education initiative for school communities by Jenn Mezei, President of the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils and Joan Merrifield, Social Justice Division at the BC Teachers’ Federation.

At our bi-monthly Early Childhood Development Roundtable meeting on May 30th,  participants discussed various campaigns and updates. The group recommended First Call write a response to Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, on the topic of outdoor play space regulations. We also discussed how federal and provincial budgets will impact the Early Years, and announced an upcoming contract on an Early Years Public Awareness Campaign.

 

APPRECIATION FOR JOHN GRESCHNER

Everyone here at First Call would like to extend a warm note of appreciation to John Greschner who has been an active member of our Steering Committee for the past 2 years. We appreciate John for bringing his knowledge and perspective to the meetings, and for his continual support of First Call’s work. John has recently accepted a position as BC’s Deputy Ombudsperson, and we wish him all the best for this new chapter.

 

FIRST CALL OUT AND ABOUT

Adrienne Montani, Provincial Coordinator, spoke at the $10aDay Child Care Plan celebration event at Fairmont Hotel to a roomful of people who have been involved in the $10aDay campaign. She shared appreciation to all those who have supported and led the campaign over the past many years, and pledged First Call’s continued support for the campaign for a public system of high quality, affordable, accessible child care.

Dylan Cohen, Youth Organizer, held a Youth Advocacy Team meeting to form an action plan using the skills developed during the Winning Change from the Government training. He also participates in the BC Coalition to End Youth Homelessness, which held a meeting at the end of May with numerous Ministry staff to bring attention to the coalition’s concerns and needs. The coalition will continue to work throughout the summer.

We worked hard this past month to raise child, youth and family poverty issues through the provincial government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Advisory Forum and direct communication with government, including sharing our updated research report comparing child benefits across provinces.

 

FIRST CALL CORRESPONDENCE AND PUBLICATIONS

April: First Call Presentation to the Joint Public Meeting on Transit
May: New First Call Research and Recommendations on Enhancing BC’s Child Tax Benefit

 

FIRST CALL IN THE NEWS

Comox Valley Record: Editorial: Living wage leaves little room to spare
StarMetro Vancouver: Mortality Rate for Youth in Care Exponentially Higher Than Average BC Coroner Service Report Shows
Terrace Standard: Terrace childcare wages, training a priority: minister
Evidence Network: Aging out of Foster Care with No Number to Call – an interview with Dylan Cohen (video)

 

FIRST CALL MEETINGS & EVENTS

Next First Call Coalition Meeting

Wednesday, June 13, 2018
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, a copy of the agenda and previous meeting minutes can be found here

Next Early Childhood Development Roundtable

 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018
9:30 am-12:00 pm
United Way of the Lower Mainland
4543 Canada Way, Burnaby

Please RSVP by emailing info@firstcallbc.org

More information and previous meeting minutes can be found here