First Call Monthly Updates

October 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

 

FOSTERING CHANGE CAMPAIGNERS TAKE THEIR VOICES TO VICTORIA

Last week, the Fostering Change team and over 50 youth in and from foster care descended upon the BC Parliament for the third Policy Solutions Day. Youth advocates met with Premier John Horgan, ten cabinet Ministers, several other MLAs and local organizations to share their stories and call for urgent action to better support youth aging out of care.

During the press conference at the BC Legislature, the youth participated in a ‘family portrait’ with large cut-outs of key BC Ministers to recognize that when youth are in and from care, their parents are in fact the government itself. We thank all the youth who participated for their energy and advocacy. Check out some photos from the event.

 

FIRST CALL JOINS THE COALITION FOR HEALTHY SCHOOL FOOD

At our October Coalition meeting, First Call voted to join the Coalition for Healthy School Food, a national advocacy group seeking federal investment in a Universal Healthy School Food Program. In May 2019, the federal government responded to the Coalition’s e-petition noting their intention to work with the provinces and territories towards the creation of a National School Food Program.

 

KIDS CAN’T WAIT SUMMIT II

First Call was pleased to see over 60 people come out to the Croatian Cultural Centre on October 29 for the second Kids Can’t Wait Community Gathering to do some collective action planning around the importance of investing in early intervention programs for children in BC.  Kudos to our co-organizers Inclusion BC, Family Support Institute, BC Association for Child Development and Intervention (BCACDI), Richmond Association for Community Living, Inclusion Langley Society, BC Centre for Ability, Provincial Advisor for Aboriginal Infant Development Program, and the Provincial Advisor for Aboriginal Supported Child Development Program, for a powerful day of sharing and visioning together.

With the release last week by the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth of their report on Children and Youth with Neuro-diverse Special Needs, First Call was pleased to see some of the recommendations in our submission, such as the need for enhanced universal early childhood services, echoed by the Committee. However, strong recommendations to address the glaring inequities in access to assessments and services are largely missing from the report.

 

LIVING WAGE FOR FAMILIES CAMPAIGN UPDATE

In October, the Living Wage for Families Campaign certified eight more Living Wage Employers, including Stabilization Central Credit Union, an organization that works with the financial regulator of BC to provide support for credit unions across the province. We celebrated this news on International Credit Union Day on October 17th.

We also celebrated that the City of Burnaby implemented their living wage policy for their staff on October 1st. Their policy will apply to service providers starting in January, and we look forward to welcoming the City as a Living Wage Employer in the New Year!

Before the federal election, Campaign Organizer Halena Seiferling’s op-ed in The Tyee argued that low wages should be an election issue, and that we should push our parties to keep their promise.

Finally, in October we submitted a response to the provincial government’s consultation on employer-paid leave in cases of domestic or sexual violence. We joined our allies including the BC Federation of Labour and the BC Employment Standards Coalition in recommending that workers should have access to 10 days of paid leave and additional unpaid leave.

 

FUNDRAISING GALA CALL FOR DONATIONS AND SPONSORSHIPS

The First Call Fundraising Gala is coming up on Thursday February 27, 2020! Registration is open and we look forward to seeing you there. In the meantime, we are calling on our community for any donations or recommendations for us to contact about silent auction items and sponsorships. Silent auction items may include resort packages, experiences, gift cards, and more! Sponsorships make the most direct and largest impact on reaching our fundraising goal of $45,000. If you have recommendations or donations for silent auction items or sponsorships, please contact Emily Chan, Office and Engagement Coordinator or click here to access our Sponsorship Package.

 

LAUNCH OF BC CHILD POVERTY REPORT CARD POSTPONED TO EARLY 2020

Every year in November, First Call publishes our BC Child Poverty Card to coincide with the anniversary of the 1989 all-party House of Commons resolution to end child poverty in Canada by the year 2000 and in conjunction with the release of a national child poverty report card by Campaign 2000. The 2019 BC Child Poverty Report Card release will be delayed until January 2020 due to a delay in receiving data. We will announce the launch date as soon as it is confirmed – stay tuned!

 

FIRST CALL OUT AND ABOUT

Adrienne Montani, Provincial Coordinator, presented to UBC Masters of Social Work students about First Call’s advocacy campaigns and child and family poverty trends.

Fostering Change Campaign Organizers and Community Organizers were out in the youth from care community promoting Policy Solutions Day. They presented to the Vancouver Aboriginal Child & Family Services Society Youth Advisory Council, Front Step Project, and the Broadway Youth Resource Centre.

Helesia Luke, Communications and Development Coordinator, attended the Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children.

Halena Seiferling, Campaign Organizer with Living Wage for Families, attended the Columbia Institute Fundraising Dinner to celebrate their important work on creating sustainable, equitable, and inclusive communities.

 

FIRST CALL IN THE NEWS

Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News: Cost of living drops for families in Tofino and Ucluelet
Times Colonist: Greater Victoria homes slightly more affordable: Vital Signs report
Times Colonist: Let’s take poverty and health seriously
Penticton Western News: One in five children in Penticton living in poverty
The Tyee: In an election about affordability, we aren’t we talking about low wages?
Daily Hive: This is how much Translink’s bus drivers are currently paid
CFAX 1070: Youth in Foster Care Converge on BC Legislature
CTV News-Vancouver Island: Youth in foster care converge on B.C. legislature
Abbotsford News: Youths from foster care system call on province for more action
Columbia Valley Pioneer: Youths from foster care system call on province for more action
Campbell River Mirror: VIDEO: Youths from foster care system call on province for more action
Victoria News: WATCH: Youths from foster care system call on province for more action
Mission City Record: VIDEO: Youths from foster care system call on province for more action

 

FIRST CALL MEETINGS & EVENTS

Next First Call Coalition Meeting
Wednesday, November 13, 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

First Call Fundraising Gala
Thursday February 27, 2020
Vancouver, BC

Next Early Childhood Development Roundtable

Wednesday, January 29, 2019
9:30 am-12:00 pm
BC Government & Service Employees’ Union
Vancouver office (2920 Virtual Way)

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