First Call in 2016: Have you been to Poor Child City?
Welcome to our monthly update about First Call’s advocacy work and key developments in child and youth policy in BC. Join us as we look back at our wins and other work in 2016, and ask for your continued support in the coming year.
HAVE YOU BEEN TO POOR CHILD CITY?
First Call released the 2016 BC Child Poverty Report Card last week. While sifting through the latest StatsCan data, we discovered a city of 163,260 poor children exists in BC, located somewhere between Richmond and Abbotsford.
Also shocking was the discovery this year that 40% of homeless youth are former youth in government care. While wages stagnate and costs rise across the province, one in five BC children still live in poverty.
First Call needs your support to keep up the good fight in 2017, for better policies and services that put BC’s children and youth first.
2016 IN REVIEW
As we end the year with the tragic news of yet another promising life cut short by insufficient government supports, we’re reminded of the Plecas report submitted in January to the Ministry of Children and Family Development, and its conclusion BC’s most vulnerable children should remain underfunded because natural gas revenues had gone down.
In February, First Call noted the irresponsible priorities in BC’s 2016 budget, and followed that with a 2017 budget submission in October. Our detailed review of the federal budget in March found new commitments to ending child poverty, as well as disappointment at the lack of investment or action for affordable child care, a core issue First Call will carry into 2017.
We released a report in April, sent to all BC MPs and relevant federal Ministers, reviewing the progress, based on First Call recommendations, on policies that put children and youth first. June was also busy, fighting the maternity and parental benefit clawbacks so disproportionately unfair to women, which became one of our biggest “wins” this year not long after First Call’s letter to Minister Stilwell, who replied when we thanked her for ending the clawback.
In July, First Call urged Ministry of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson to waive tuition fees for BC youth in foster care, another body of work, alongside traditional First Call issues such as child labour, environmental toxins, and affordable child care, that we will continue to work hard on in 2017.
In November, in partnership with former SFU dean of Education Paul Shaker, First Call co-hosted a panel discussion on public education funding in BC, another major issue First Call will watch as we prepare our toolkit for the May 2017 election.
Also last month, we were proud to welcome Bernard Richard, BC’s new Representative for Children and Youth, as Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond ends ten years of treasured service to our province.
Mary Ellen is guest of honour at First Call’s fundraising gala on February 23, 2017, so save the date as we hope to see you there!
We’d also like to take a minute in this busy season to thank you for your ongoing support of First Call and to wish you and your loved ones all the best as you celebrate the holidays.
We look forward to continuing our important policy advocacy, public education and community mobilization work with you in 2017!
Yours for children and youth,
Julie, John, Adrienne and Deanna
WE WERE IN THE NEWS
Adrienne Montani: B.C. Liberals must do more to help the poor, The Province
B.C. child poverty rate higher than national average, says report, CBC British Columbia
One in five B.C. children living in poverty: Report, CKNW
Episode 28, MEDIA INDIGENA podcast
One in Five Kids in BC Is Poor, Report Finds, The Tyee
Child poverty affects 1 in 5 B.C. children, report says, CBC British Columbia
Adrienne Montani guest segment on Evenings with Kirk LaPointe, Roundhouse Radio
Burnaby’s child poverty rate still among the highest in B.C., Burnaby Now
One in five B.C. kids lives in poverty: Report, The Vancouver Sun
Des milliers d’enfants sont pauvres en Colombie-Britannique, Radio-Canada
Williams Lake child poverty exceeds national average, Williams Lake Tribune
Kamloops advocates working to address child poverty, CFJC Today
B.C.’s powerhouse economy must help the 1 in 5 kids living in poverty: report, Canadian Press
卑詩2成兒童生活貧困 比率高全國, Ming Pao Daily News
卑詩省5名兒童中 有一名在貧窮中生活, Sing Tao Daily
NDP Leader Horgan Says B.C.’s Child Poverty Rate Unacceptable, South Asian Link
Analysis: less talk, more action needed in child poverty fight, Vancouver Courier
Child poverty high in Alberni Valley, Alberni Valley News
Where’s the Accountability for Children Growing Up in Poverty in BC?, /r/Vancouver
Langley City has high child poverty level, Langley Advance