Guiding the future of BC’s Representative for Children and Youth Act

Some of you may know that The Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth is reviewing our province’s Representative for Children and Youth Act. As part of this process, the committee has invited British Columbians to participate and make submissions to help guide the committee’s review.

The Federation clearly understands the importance of this legislation and we will definitely be making our own submission before the deadline of February 10, 2017.

The Office of the Representative for Children and Youth is charged with three major functions: advocacy, monitoring, and review of critical injuries or deaths of children. The Federation deeply and wholeheartedly values the work of the Representative’s Office and the intentions behind its existence.

There has been talk (most recently as part of last year’s Plecas Review) about potentially moving the monitoring portion of the Office’s work into the Ministry of Children and Family Development. This is one of the issues our submission will address.

In 2005, when Judge Hughes proposed the creation and function of what is now the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth, it was with the idea that, one day, certain functions (like monitoring) could become part of the Ministry’s internal process. But now is not the time.

From our perspective, we see a Ministry struggling with an already great responsibility and a very limited budget. We see a Ministry with massive change ahead of it and adding to its mandate at this time would only make things more complicated. It’s probably best not to think about how such responsibility would further strain already-stretched services for children and families.

Until social care in BC is more highly valued and more appropriately funded, our province must continue to have an independent monitoring function. This is what our submission will argue—in addition to things like adding advocacy on behalf of young people over the age of 19 and expanding the scope to include other Ministries who serve young people.

We will circulate the content of our submission to members once it is finalized and we encourage you to make a submission of your own. If you have ideas or suggestions for The Federation’s submission, or if you want to talk further before preparing your own, please let us know. As always, we remain altogether better.

The February Social Policy Forum: Changing attitudes about social care

A few years ago, we started talking about The Federation as being part of a movement—a movement that views caring as a foundational principle of humanity and puts such caring at the center of social policy. That movement is slowly growing and it needs your voice.

Next month, The Federation is hosting our second annual Social Policy Forum. This year, we are trying something new and something a little risky, but with your help, it is going to be great!

The Federation is inviting every candidate that has declared their intention to run in the upcoming provincial election to join us as part of this event. Together, over two days, we will talk about social care in BC and the impact of community social services.

We know that action on social issues can be hindered by a lack of understanding and/or misinformation. This event will address both of those barriers. In addition to facilitated panels and guest speakers, hosted table talks with candidates will enable Federation members to collectively inform and educate our next provincial government about social care issues and the importance of the work we do.

This is an opportunity to meet with the people who have chosen to run in the election. This is a chance to help them write a new narrative about the value social care—that healthy communities make good economic sense and that for our families to succeed, all families need to succeed.

We are already busy at work planning this event. Over the coming weeks, The Federation team will work with forum participants and members to craft short, informal presentations on a range of topics on the social care spectrum. Members will then have the opportunity to explain their work, ask and answer questions, and get to know the candidates face to face.

Before the holidays, I spoke about the value of social care. February’s Social Policy Forum is going to be an opportunity to help others understand and appreciate that value.

I encourage you all to register today. Not only will you secure the early bird pricing, but early registrants will get to choose their table topic and have the opportunity to help craft the presentations on various topics.

I look forward to seeing you in Victoria!