First Call Monthly Updates

October 2017 Monthly Update


Youth Policy Options Day – BC 2018 Budget Submission – Opioid Action Plan – and more!

October 2017

Highlights this month include:

  • First Call Youth Policy Options Day
  • BC 2018 Budget Submission
  • Call to increase child care outdoor play space
  • BC Opioid Action Plan open letter
  • First Call out and about
  • First Call correspondence and publications
  • First Call in the news

Read on to learn more!

Yours for children and youth,

Adrienne, Deanna, John and Viveca

 

FIRST CALL YOUTH POLICY OPTIONS DAY

On September 30, First Call attended the Youth Policy Solutions Day strategy meeting held by the Vancouver Foundation’s Fostering Change initiative at Musqueam Cultural Centre, as youth in and from foster care gathered to discuss child welfare policies and highlight priorities for change.

Based on that, First Call’s Dylan Cohen and McGill School of Social Work PhD Candidate Melanie Doucet, working with the Fostering Change Youth Advisory Circle, prepared a policy brief presented to more than two dozen MLAs at a lunch event on October 24 at which former youth in care shared policy recommendations.

Later that day, our rally on the steps of the BC Legislature drew a crowd of 200 supporters who heard youth with experience in foster care speak about how they want policy to change in the areas of housing, post-majority support and education, among other issues. Rally attendees included Premier John Horgan and supportive remarks were shared by BC’s Representative for Children and Youth Bernard Richard and Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy.

Watch videos from the October 24 Youth Policy Solutions Day.

BC BUDGET SUBMISSION

First Call has submitted a written brief, Respecting Child & Youth Rights with Timely Investments, to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services as part of their public consultation to prepare British Columbia’s 2018 budget. Adrienne also made an oral submission on October 4 to the Committee, highlighting First Call’s funding priorities for the 2018 Budget.

Recommendations made in the submission address early childhood Investments, measures First Call wants built into the upcoming provincial poverty reduction plan, ways to strengthen and improve BC’s child welfare system, and where funding should be prioritized at the K-12 and post-secondary level.

First Call’s Early Childhood Development Roundtable also sent a letter to Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy and BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver to call for urgent action on their shared commitment to a strong universal child care system for BC families in the next provincial budget.

Read the full submission.

Read the ECD Roundtable child care letter.

CALL TO INCREASE CHILD CARE OUTDOOR PLAY SPACE

Since July 2016, First Call has had questions about why the minimum outdoor play space per child, as determined in the Child Care Licensing Regulation, was reduced from 7 square metres to 6 square metres for licensed child care programs.

Child to space density impacts levels of aggression, the mood, and the types of play, and the amount of gross motor activity in outdoor play spaces. This reduction in play space per child is contrary to the expert evidence on children’s play, and First Call has raised this issue with our new Minister of Health Adrian Dix.

Read the full letter.

BC OPIOID ACTION PLAN OPEN LETTER

At the October 11 First Call coalition meeting we agreed to sign an open letter drafted by the Public Health Association of BC which calls on the BC government to develop and implement a BC Opioid Action Plan. The letter proposes the plan be based on the four pillars of the new Canadian Drug and Substances Strategy—prevention, harm reduction, opioid addiction treatment and enforcement.

“We are encouraged by the steps already taken by the BC and federal governments and BC Health Authorities and stand ready to assist in any way to quickly develop and implement an Opioid Action Plan.”

Read the full letter.

FIRST CALL OUT AND ABOUT

On September 30, Adrienne, Dylan and John joined the Fostering Change initiative’s Youth Policy Solutions Day strategy meeting, at which Adrienne and Dylan led a workshop on policy advocacy and to brainstorm priorities for future work in those areas.

On October 1 and 9, Dylan met respectively with the Youth Advisory Committees at Aunt Leah’s Place and Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society, inviting them and other youth in and from foster care to join First Call’s October 24 Youth Policy Solutions Day.

On October 14 Adrienne spoke about First Call’s poverty advocacy work to Community Action Network participants at the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House. She also made presentations on child and family poverty to the Langley Business and Professional Women’s Council and to members of the BC Association of Social Workers.

Adrienne, Dylan and John were excited to accompany youth to Victoria for the October 24th Youth Policy Solutions Day described above.

FIRST CALL CORRESPONDENCE AND PUBLICATIONS

October 16: First Call 2018 Provincial Budget Submission: Respecting Child & Youth Rights with Timely Investments
October 18: Letter to Finance Minister Carol James and MLA Andrew Weaver on Child Care omission in 2017 BC Budget
October 24: Supporting youth ‘aging out’ of care in British Columbia: Recommendations for change and extended support
October 31: First Call letter to Minister of Health Adrian Dix regarding 2016 reduction in outdoor play space requirements
November 1: Letter to Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy and MLA Andrew Weaver urging action on Child Care commitments in 2018 BC Budget

WE WERE IN THE NEWS

Roundhouse Radio: International Day to Eradicate Poverty
Tyee: Youth in Care Want Politicians to Follow Up on Promises
Oak Bay News: Rally held for B.C. youth aging out of foster care
Times Colonist: Young people who were in care seek better services after aging out
CBC: Ministry ‘working hard’ to increase support for youth aging out of care
Times Colonist: Editorial: Young voices get a hearing
Vancouver Sun: B.C. names 27 people to poverty reduction forum
Vancouver Foundation magazine: Rallying British Columbians to advocate for youth aging out of foster care
CBC: Advocates encouraged by B.C. poverty reduction strategy
CityTV/OMNI: Interview with Adrienne Montani, comments on role of Poverty Reduction Forum (no link)