Cabinet mandate letters – Fostering Change consultation – First Call member appeal – and more!
Highlights this month include:
- First Call meets new provincial Ministers
- Fostering Change youth-led policy advocacy project
- Welcome Dylan Cohen
- 2017 BC Child Poverty Report Card
- First Call out and about
- First Call correspondence and publications
- First Call in the news
- Upcoming meetings
Read on to learn more!
Yours for children and youth,
Adrienne, Deanna, John and Viveca
FIRST CALL MEETS NEW CABINET MINISTERS
On August 24, a delegation of 7 First Call member organizations and staff met with Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson and his deputy minister about the BC Poverty Reduction Plan. We thanked the Minister for early steps government has taken to restore free Adult Basic Education and English language learning programs, and beginning to raise income assistance rates.
Delegation members shared stories and recommendations from their sectors (students, Indigenous youth, children with disabilities, immigrants/refugees, child care, health, youth from care) and encouraged the Minister to draw from work already done by community and advocacy groups in creating the plan, and emphasized the importance of a cross-ministry approach in this work.
Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy and Minister of State for Child Care Katrina Chen met with First Call coalition members on September 28. We presented a short brief flagging some concerns around the under-resourced child protection system, the lack of support for youth aging out of care, the under-investment in early childhood supports and services and the urgency of implementing the $10aDay child care plan.
The Ministers agreed the ministry has work to do to improve the quality of services for children and youth in care and to provide more support for struggling families to reduce the number of children apprehended due to family poverty and homelessness.
FOSTERING CHANGE YOUTH-LED POLICY ADVOCACY PROJECT
Following our consultations this summer with youth in and from government care and the agencies and organizations who serve them, in partnership with the Vancouver Foundation, First Call is organizing a day of youth-led policy advocacy in Victoria on October 24.
MLAs have begun to RSVP to our invitation to spend lunch that day listening to youth with lived experience of government care, and are invited (as are you) to join our public rally outside the BC legislature that afternoon.
WELCOME DYLAN COHEN
Coordinating the Fostering Change youth policy advocacy day in Victoria in October is Dylan Cohen, a former youth in care from Manitoba whose advocacy for child welfare rights has included recent work for First Call coalition members Adoptive Families Association of BC and the Society for Children and Youth of BC, as well as for Discourse Media, where Dylan is now a youth media fellow, exploring issues such as court delays in child protection cases in rural parts of BC.
Hear Dylan break down the October 24 details in the latest episode of First Call’s podcast, As Word Spreads, which also features Kris Archie sharing the origin story of Vancouver Foundation’s Fostering Change initiative.
2017 BC CHILD POVERTY REPORT CARD
Save the date: First Call’s 2017 BC Child Poverty Report Card will be released on November 21, 2017.
The data is in and production has begun, and First Call is now compiling stories of lived experience of poverty in BC to illustrate where and how policies can change to lift families up.
If you have a personal story to share relating to policies that put or keep families with children in poverty that might be used in the report, please get in touch.
FIRST CALL OUT AND ABOUT
First Call coalition members were out in force at the Walk for Reconciliation on September 23 celebrating with thousands of others the growing movement to recognize the impacts of colonization on generations of Indigenous children, families and Nations and the work being done to halt the harm and recognize Indigenous people’s rights to self-determination.
On August 14, youth in and from care and their workers at Abbotsford’s Impact Youth and Family Supports met with First Call to share their thoughts on child welfare policy in BC and ways that can change. On September 1, Adrienne, Dylan and John attended the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association’s Youth Advocacy Day in Surrey, where Dylan presented on his child welfare policy work and Representative for Children and Youth of BC, Bernard Richard, on his.
The generous folks at the New West & District Labour Council gave First Call a table at their Labour Day picnic in Surrey’s Holland Park. Union members and the public signed First Call letters as part of our campaigns to eliminate child poverty and improve BC’s child labour standards, and Minister of Labour Harry Bains made a brief stop by to hear our thoughts on those issues!
Adrienne also spoke on September 5 to a new class of nursing students at BCIT, and was the keynote speaker on September 18 at the Vancouver Women’s Council luncheon.
FIRST CALL CORRESPONDENCE AND PUBLICATIONS
September: Solidarity for Social Reforms to Reduce Newcomer Family Poverty, AMSSA’s Cultures West magazine
September: A Coalition of Advocacy, BCASW’s Perspectives magazine
September: As Word Spreads, episode 7: Beyond blame—the history and future of the Fostering Change campaign
WE WERE IN THE NEWS