We are well into the new year but as you may suspect, The Federation remains hard at work on a number of important issues that demanded our attention through 2021. Our entire board of directors and staff team are continuing to support you through the ongoing pandemic restrictions and changing guidelines while also advocating on your behalf across a range of important sector issues—procurement, systems of care, collaboration, and reconciliation.
As always, I encourage you to reach out to either of us (or anyone on The Federation team) if you have questions, comments, or ideas about the projects and issues detailed below or any other Federation work. Your expertise, time, and creativity are the most valuable resources we have when it comes to building the kind of strong, sustainable community social services sector we all want.
Director of Programs and Services
Social Services Sector Round Table
The Social Services Sector Round Table’s last two meetings of 2021 focused on procurement, reconciliation, and pandemic guidelines and restrictions.
The Round Table has been discussing concerns with existing procurement processes, including the colonial and competitive aspects of RFPs. Members affirmed the need for further dialogue between the sector and government in order to explore more equitable, transparent and sustainable ways of managing procurement as well as government engagement with the sector.
While the government is unable to provide legal costs that were incurred as a result of navigating Public Health Orders or mandatory vaccinations, discussions are underway with the Public Health Office around improving the clarity of language in future health orders to minimize confusion for organizations in the sector.
There is also agreement among members that the Round Table needs dedicated time and commitment to put toward reconciliation efforts. The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres and the Aboriginal Housing Management Association have agreed to help guide this ongoing work.
Over the coming weeks and months, The Federation and our sector partners on the Social Services Sector Round Table will be strategizing how we can best use this mechanism to achieve our collective goals and will be coming up with a plan for the year ahead to move forward on important sector issues.
Specialized Homes and Support Services
In December, The Federation and MCFD hosted a collaborative engagement session on Specialized Home and Support Services transformation. There were 170 participants who attended to learn about the implementation process.
The Ministry of Children and Family Development is committed to the development of a transformation plan. With the assistance of The Federation, current providers will be co-managing the implementation of the new Specialized Homes and Support Services starting April 2022.
This work is fundamentally tied to our long-term goal of changing and reforming procurement with the government. These services will not be going to RFPs; where there is already a contract in place, that agency will be helped to get from where they are to where they need to be to fit in the new service framework. (There will be RFPs where gaps in services are identified.)
Our hope is that MCFD will continue with these large engagement sessions along with additional, regional working tables. In the past, there have been too many long gaps between moments of action. Our goal is to show that this process is working well primarily because of the ongoing and collaborative engagement with the sector.
If you have questions or concerns or want more information, please contact The Federation’s Director of Child, Youth, and Family Advocacy, Michelle Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WorkSafeBC Board Representation
In December, The Federation and The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres sent a joint letter to Minister Harry Bains encouraging the BC government to add a member to the WorkSafeBC board of directors that represents and understands BC’s social services sector.
The board currently lacks anyone who could bring the perspective of our broad and complex sector or anyone who could bring an Indigenous lens to the way things like compensation or mental health are governed and administered.
Earlier this month, we met with Minister Bains about this very topic. The minister agreed to pursue the structural changes needed to get Indigenous voices on the WorkSafeBC board and was open to consulting our sector when there are vacancies in the future.
Support 2 Practice Supervision Training
“This course has empowered and validated my practice and added extra skills to my toolbox.”
Since April 2021, The Federation has partnered with Community Action Initiative and CityU to offer an innovative, cohort-based professional development series called Support To Practice Supervision Training. We are pleased to be offering eight more cohorts, happening now through to the end of 2022.
Community Social Services managers and supervisors often hold dual roles; we are responsible for both the administrative oversite of our programs, as well as practice support. These are significant responsibilities in what is already a complex and challenging service landscape.
Support 2 Practice Supervision Training helps you understand the spectrum of supervisory responsibilities and equips you with the necessary skills to meet the unique needs of your clients and staff. Registration is now open for Cohorts 7 and 8. Learn more and register on our website!