Altogether better: the value of caring

I want to end 2016 on a positive note. I want to take a moment to celebrate all the wonderful things that Federation members do every day, all year long.

Beyond the various job descriptions we hold, everything we do as part of this federation moves our province in the direction of greater inclusion, equality, accessibility, dignity, respect, empathy, and understanding.

It is not easy work, but I am constantly amazed and humbled by the ways our members bring people together, step up when needed, and make real, meaningful change in people’s lives.

For centuries, sages and scholars across the world have professed the value of such powerful, meaningful, and lasting acts of caring for each other.

And it may not seem like it, but caring is also a political act. It ignores lines in the sand, and rigid ideologies, and notions of “us” and “them”—it ignores what might divide us and focuses on the simple things we all share and the simple things we all need.

In a time where self-interest, oppression, and hostility towards others seem to be dominating social discourse, I want to remind you that kindness and caring and love are still values cherished by more people than not.

It may be hard to see them through the darkness, but those values will always be a source of light. They bring us together and they make us better.

These are the values that you, our members, live by every day. It’s something wonderful and something worth celebrating and holding on to.

Project updates: MCFD policies, innovation, and funding guide template

Day in and day out, The Federation staff team focuses on a number of projects, initiatives, requests, and organizational goals. We bring forward issues and concerns, as well as possible solutions, to policy makers and politicians on behalf of our members. We are in constant contact with partners and allies in order to better engage in collaborative action—to work together to overcome challenges and seek improvements in practice, programs, and public policy in BC.

For that reason, this week’s email will update you about a number of ongoing projects we have been working on. If you have any questions about these initiatives, please let me know. You can call or email me at any time or reach out next Friday, December 16 for my next dedicated “office hours” for Federation members.

1: MCFD Caregiver Screening Policy

The MCFD Caregiver Screening Policy was implemented two years ago. Since then, a number of our members have faced challenges implementing the new standards. We have been working closely with MCFD to provide feedback from community organizations and to help the ministry identify red flags and solve key problems.

Last month, we held a webinar with MCFD so members could provide additional feedback about their struggles and the issues they face when trying to comply with the new policy. As a result of this ongoing feedback, MCFD will be making a few policy changes to address some of the problems faced by agencies with contracted residential services. We will also continue to work with MCFD to address issues around access to criminal record checks under these new standards.

2: CLBC Funding Guide Template 

We have been working closely with the CEO Network and PARCA to help inform Community Living BC’s review of the funding guide template. Together, we have presented a well-researched and evidence-supported proposal outlining some alternate options for changes CLBC has been considering.

Throughout this process, we believe CLBC leadership has remained open to alternatives proposed by the sector. We are currently awaiting their response to our proposal and will keep you posted on this work as it unfolds.

3. Sustainability and Innovation Roundtable

This initiative brought together the community sector and government in order to explore new ways of working together. A number of small pilot projects took place over the past year which helped us better understand what roles government, community, and business should play when it comes to innovation.

We believe, and past experiences suggest, that social innovation must be led by community and take place in community. Government has an important role to play and needs to be at the table to address barriers and help create space for social innovation. The public and the business sector must also be involved to share their knowledge, tools, and experiences.

Moving forward, a group of community organizations (including The Federation) is currently taking what we have learned and mapping some new ways for the sector and the government to facilitate innovative tools, processes, and procedures. Our goal remains the same: to build stronger and more supportive connections between the sector, government, and the public in order to influence social policy, strengthen community programs, and better serve the people of our province.

If there are any other Federation projects or initiatives you would like an update on, please call or email me. I’d be more than happy to answer your questions.

The Federation’s Youth Education Bursary

“When I turned 11, I was placed into foster care and separated from my siblings. From my very rocky and unstable journey through the foster care system, I knew I wanted to help children who were being put into a situation that was out of their control. I decided on a career in social work, and now because of the help and support I have received from organizations like The Federation, I am starting my Masters of Clinical Social Work degree in the fall of 2016.”  – 2016 Bursary Recipient

The Federation’s Youth Education Bursary was one of the things that really inspired me when I first joined The Federation team.

More than just a dollar amount of financial support, it was—and still is—one of the ways this federation sees young people as more than simply their experience in government care. It imagines their potential and supports them in reaching it.

The bursary helps support the next generation of social service carers and advocates and it welcomes young people into the career path we have all traveled. We consistently hear from applicants how much they want to use their experiences to help make things better for other young people like them. It’s inspiring and heartwarming and it is all possible because of you.

The Bursary was established in 2009 by Federation members who wanted to encourage and support young people in government care to pursue a career in our sector. Recently, post-secondary institutions have followed suit and now offer tuition waivers to young people from care.

However, our Youth Education Bursary is still very necessary. Tuition waivers don’t cover all the costs of university and many youth in care go to schools without tuition waiver programs.

As we head into the holiday season, I know your agencies are exceptionally busy. Many of you coordinate other activities and programs that help vulnerable families and we don’t want to compete with this work. I also know it’s a time for your own giving campaigns. I hope all of your holiday activities are successful and serve you well.

But I also hope that you can help us promote the Youth Education Bursary at this time of year. If you can, please spread the word and consider making a donation in the name of someone you care about as part of your holiday giving.