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Update: 2019 BC Budget – What does it mean for Kinship Care Families?

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Update: 2019 BC Budget – What does it mean for Kinship Care Families?

Update

Details regarding caregiver rate increases were released Thursday, February 28th. 

To see the table of who will be receiving rate increases click here.

These rate increases for Ministry of Children and Family Development caregivers will come into effect April 1, 2019.

The BC Budget has lots of good news for the families we work with. In particular, Parent Support Services is pleased that the government has listened to the concerns raised by grandparents and other kinship caregivers. We have worked hard to amplify kinship caregiver concerns and share their stories.

Finance Minister Carol James’ budget speech stated: “And I’m proud to announce that extended family, like grandparents and aunties, who support children and keep them out of care, will finally have payments equal to foster parents.”

The BC Government’s budget overview stated: “Extended family, like grandparents and aunties who support children and keep them out of care, will have their support payments increased to match those of foster payments.”

The actual budget document states: “Supporting Children in Care: Importantly, Budget 2019 provides $18 million over three years to support children who are placed in the care of extended family caregivers and adoptive parents. Support payments for the Extended Family Program, which help to cover the cost of basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter, will increase by approximately 75 per cent, and for the Post-Adoption Assistance program by 15 per cent, benefiting almost 2,500 children.”

This is good news. PSS was invited, by the Minister of Children and Family Development, the Honourable Katrine Conroy,  to Victoria for an announcement regarding caregiver rate increases on Thursday, February 28th.

The budget also stated, “By providing more funding for Indigenous extended family caregivers, government is responding to recommendations from Indigenous communities and Grand Chief Ed John to keep more Indigenous children with their families rather than taking them into the care of the Province.” We are working to find out exactly which recommendations they are acting on.

Our estimate (based on Stats Canada data) is that there are 13,000 children in kinship care in the province – these would include informal arrangements that may not interact with Government Ministries and may not be included in their counts.

PSS will remain in contact with the Minister and expect to get more details about those who are not included in the February 28th announcement. We  continue to strongly advocate alongside kinship caregivers, and work with the Provincial Government, to ensure that all children being raised by their grandparents and other extended family, receive payments that match those of foster children.

It is clear that this budget is a step ahead and will, with the government’s other announcements, make a positive difference in the lives of BC children.

Other important initiatives in the budget include: the new BC Child Opportunity Benefit, that assists low-income families by increasing the benefit amount and extending it to families with children up to the age of 18; continued investment in a universal child care system; increased rates for foster parents, investments in health care for women, children and newborns; the full elimination of MSP premiums; and the small raise in social assistance rates.

Here are some good sources of information about other aspects of the budget:
First Call: https://firstcallbc.org/publications/bc-budget-media-release-bc-budget-2019-brings-financial-relief-for-low-income-children-youth-and-their-families/
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: https://www.policynote.ca/nine-things-to-know-about-bc-budget-2019/
West Coat Leaf: http://www.westcoastleaf.org/our-publications/release-budget-2019-brings-welcome-improvements-in-benefits-but-falls-short-on-legal-aid/

Contact our Provincial Office if you have questions or concerns – 1-877-345-9777 office@parentsupportbc.ca

Celebrating Family Day

Celebrating Family Day
Unfortunately, for many, this will be hard. Many parents will not get the day off, including those who work more than one job to make ends meet.
Parent Support Services Society of BC (PSS) works with diverse communities across the province to provide Parenting Support Circles and education, and Canada’s only Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (GRG) support line. In some communities circles operate in Spanish, English, Korean, Cantonese, Mandarin and Filipino/Tagalog.

Families in BC are diverse.

Children are raised by two parents, lone parents, same-sex couples, foster parents, and increasingly by grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings and other relatives. (According to StatsCan, more than 13,000 children are being raised by kin in BC) Listening to families, and following the research and news, we know that BC is falling short in meeting many basic needs. Too many families in BC are struggling.

Many cannot afford a roof over their heads

In BC 1 in 5 are paying over 50% of their income on rent and utilities (2018 Rental Housing Index). Home owners in Vancouver are required to pay 88% of their income for ownership costs. (2018 RBC Affordability Report) .

Childcare costs are still beyond the reach of many

Because of the amazing $10/day campaign the BC Government is beginning to implement quality, affordable universal childcare. We look forward to the full implementation of the plan.

Jobs with living wages are hard to find

First Call – BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition’s 2018 Child Poverty Report Card reports that “one in five children, or 172,550 children and youth in BC, are growing up in poverty. And many are growing up in deep poverty — up to $13,000 below the poverty line. This includes poor households where one or more parents are working.”

The report also notes that, “due to systemic discrimination and other factors, the situation is even worse for some groups of children. Indigenous children, new immigrant children and children in visible or racialized minority groups all have much higher poverty rates than the BC average.” Half of BC’s children in lone-parent families were poor.

BC’s parents try to do their best, but it’s hard to celebrate when worrying about how to afford next month’s rent or mortgage payment and still provide healthy food and all the other basics of daily life .

We commend the Government of BC on the positive actions they have taken on many of these challenges, but we still have a long way to go.

This Family Day, let’s all make a commitment to work for a BC in which all families thrive, feel included, and can participate in celebrations for years to come.

Carol Madsen
Executive Director

Love Working With Kids? – Volunteer Childminders Needed

The Parent Support Services Society of BC is looking for volunteers to deliver a quality child minding/play group program for children 0 to 5 years (& some older children under 12), whose families are accessing our Support Circle Program. The volunteer child minders will work within the child minding team and Support Circle facilitators. Circle meetings vary in days, location and time.
We’re looking for individuals whom have the availability and flexibility to support our Circles throughout the Metro Vancouver/Lower Mainland area.
Duties include:
 program planning, delivery and child care (i.e., coordinate child minding/play groups; participate in planning/evaluation related to child minding; develop and deliver program appropriate to children’s ages and individual needs; ensure safety of children and staff; liaison and communication with Circle facilitators and parents); work as a team with other child minder(s).
Recruitment requirements:
 Experience in the field of childcare, preferably ECE OR Equivalent experience (Babysitting, Child Care experience, working with children, etc.)
 Experience in working with children requiring extra support
 Proven ability in working as a collaborative team member
 Approved Criminal Records Check
 Preference given to experience in working with parents within a family-centered philosophy
 A current First Aid certificate is an asset

Please fill out the online application – click here.
And send Resume and Cover Letter to:
Attention: Daniela Alvarado-Torres; Volunteer Coordinator
Parent Support Services Society of BC
#204 – 5623 Imperial Street
Burnaby, BC V5J 1G1
TEL : 604 – 669 – 1616 ext 106
Email: daniela.alvarado-torres@parentsupportbc.ca

Fathering Circle Starting Up in Burnaby

We are excited to announce that we are opening a Circle for those in a fathering role (fathers as well as grandfathers, uncles and others who are raising children). This inclusive Circle will be meeting in Burnaby.

Figuring out how to be a Dad isn’t always easy

  • Parent Support Services offers self-help support circles for those in a parenting role.
  • These circle groups are led by two trained volunteer facilitators.
  • Our Circles are free and confidential.
  • Child minding and refreshments provided.

Our Fathering Support Circle provides a safe, supportive place for fathers, and others in a fathering role, to share ideas and information with other fathers.

Start Date: February 5th, 2019
When: Every Tuesday—
6:30-8:30 pm
Where: Burnaby
Find out more and register:
at office@parentsupportbc.ca or
call 604-669-1616

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of BC and the United Way Lower Mainland.

Our Fall-Winter Provincial Newsletter

Our latest newsletter is out – Fall Winter 2018 Final Check out all the latest news. It includes a message from the new Representative for Children and Youth, Jennifer Charlesworth, news on new Childcare Benefits, coverage the awarding of the 2018 Bill McFarland Award to Adrienne Montani, highlights of our work over the past few months, and more.

Adrienne Montani – 2018 Recipient of the Bill McFarland Award

October 1, 2018

For Immediate Release

Burnaby, BC, October 1 2018 – Parent Support Services Society of BC is proud to announce that Adrienne Montani, is the 2018 recipient of the prestigious Bill McFarland Award for the Excellence in the Advancement of Child Welfare.

Adrienne Montani, is best known for her work with the First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition. She has been with First Call since 2000 and became the Provincial Coordinator in 2005. Prior to working with First Call, Adrienne served as the Child and Youth Advocate for the City of Vancouver, and as Chairperson of the Vancouver School Board for three of her six years as an elected school trustee. Some of her earlier leadership positions included serving as the executive director of Surrey Delta Immigrant Services Society and of Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland.

During Adrienne’s tenure as Provincial Coordinator, First Call has become the leading voice advocating for the children and youth of BC.  One piece of their work, the Child Poverty Report Card, explores the impact of large numbers of children and their families living in poverty. The annual report card contains the latest statistics on child and family poverty in British Columbia. Every year this report card includes a list of recommendations that would make a real difference to the size and depth of BC’s child and family poverty problem.

“Adrienne has dedicated her life to promoting the rights of children and youth, and advancing their welfare”, states Carol Madsen, Parent Support Services Executive Director. She adds, “Adrienne and First call have played an important role in the development of legislation that will improve the welfare of children in BC including the Federal Canada Child Benefit and the Childcare BC program.”

This award is named after, Bill McFarland. Bill was an advocate for children throughout his life and social work career. His achievements include: founder of the Alberta Foster Parents Association, the National Federation of Youth in Care Networks, and Parent Support Services Society of BC. In addition he was a member of the Berger Commission, a consultant to the Gove Inquiry, and a recognized expert on the Young Offenders Act. Bill was appreciated by all who worked with him for his integrity, compassion and tireless efforts toward the care and welfare of all children.

The award ceremony will be held at Parent Support Services Society of BC’s Annual General Meeting. October 1st – 5 pm. And will be located in our offices at 204-5623 Imperial Street, Burnaby BC.

Facilitator Training – Nanaimo Oct 26-28

Volunteer Facilitators Needed!
Learn to be an effective group leader
20 hrs Initial Training
October 26, 27 & 28, 2018 Nanaimo BC
Full attendance required

Are you someone who has:
 Good listening & interpersonal skills
 An interest in supporting parent/caregiver and child relationships
 Basic understanding of child development & parenting issues
 Willing to do community outreach & development
Benefits of this training:
 Initial facilitator training provided along with continuing education opportunities
 Develop skills for career and personal growth
 Support families in your community
 Letter of reference upon request (minimum 1 year commitment)
We ask our volunteers to commit 3-5 hrs a week for a minimum of 1 year. This allows our facilitators to develop relationships with the support circle participants within the context of the circle.
What past participants say:
The trainers were very informed with an obvious wealth of experience coupled with a solid academic background that support the activities.
I was taught how to be a facilitator not a caregiver.
This workshop was inspirational, timely, to the point, energetic, friendly.
This training helped move my one-on-one counselling skills into a group environment.

We have several openings for volunteers for Parenting Support Circles in communities such as: Duncan, Nanaimo, and Parksville.
For more information please contact:
Sandi at 250-468-9658
Email sandi@parentsupportbc.ca
Or call us toll free at or 1-877-345-9777 For more details and a downloadable application form visit www.parentsupportbc.ca/volunteers/

Download a poster about the training here: PSS VI Volunteer Trainings Oct 2018 – CI Final

Grandparent Raising Grandchildren (Kinship Care) Support Circles by Location

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (GRG) Support Circles are free, weekly gatherings are for anyone who is raising a family member’s child to safely share their challenges, receive support and understanding for their roles as caregivers. Groups meet regularly, and child-minding assistance or onsite child-minding is available if needed. Please be aware that the Support Circles are not a drop-in program and we do not advertize the exact locations of all the Circles for safety and privacy reasons. Please contact our GRG Support Line to get more information or to join a Circle. 1-855-474-9777 or email grgline@parentsupportbc.ca

    Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley

Abbotsford – Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (GRG) Support Circle

  • Evenings – Twice Monthly – Mon 6:00-9:00 pm Downloadable pdf poster GRG Abbotsford

Chilliwack GRG Support Circle

  • Upcoming

Langley GRG Support Circle

  • Afternoons – Every 2nd Thurs 3:00-5:00 pm

Coquitlam GRG Support Circle

  • Evenings – Every 2nd Wed 6:00-8:00 pm

Vancouver (Mount Pleasant) GRG Support Circle

  • Evenings – Weekly – Thurs 6:15-8:15 pm.

Vancouver Island

VICTORIA

For locations & information on Circles and Events in the region – email victoria@parentuspportbc.ca or call  (250)384-8042
West Shore – Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (GRG) Support Circle

  • Monthly Daytime Fridays 10-11:30 am

Victoria Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Circles

  • Evening group meets Monthly – 2nd Wednesdays 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm (Esquimault)
  • Daytime group (temporarily closed)

Central/Northern Vancouver Island For locations & information on Circles and Events in the region – email parent@telus.net or call  (250)468-9658
Duncan Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Circle

  • Monthly Thursday evenings

Nanaimo Daytime Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Circle

  • Monthly – Tuesdays 9:30-11:30 am

Nanaimo Evening – Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Circle

  • Monthly Wednedays

Comox Valley Aboriginal GRG Support Circle – Courtenay

  • Monthly – Last Thursday of the Month – 7:00-8:30 pm

Port Alberni Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Circle

  • The Port Alberni group is currently inactive. Grandparents are welcome to call the Central Island Coordinator at 250.468.9658 or call the GRG Information and Support Line at 1.855.474.9777.

Parksville Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Circle

  • Monthly – Friday Morning

Sunshine Coast

For locations & information on Circles and Events in the Sunshine Coast – email office@parentsupportbc.caor call  1-877-345-9777
Powell River Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Circle

  • 1st & 3rd Thursdays Mornings

Interior

PRINCE GEORGE

For locations & information on Circles and Events in Prince George – email jessica.turner@parentsupportbc.caor call  1-250-962-0600

  • Prince George Native Friendship Centre Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Circle (1600 3rd Ave) Grand parenting support group for grandparents who are raising and/or the primary caregivers for their grandchildren. No cost. Every Tue 10:00am – 12pm. Call 250-962-0600 for more details. Download flyer here

KAMLOOPS

For locations & information on Circles and Events in Kamloops – email grgline@parentsupportbc.caor call  1-855-474-9777

  • GRG Kamloops Circle –  Call 1-855-474-9777 to register. 

KELOWNA

For locations & information on Circles and Events in the Okanagan – email grgline@parentsupportbc.caor call  1-855-474-9777

  • GRG Circle in Kelowna  Mondays 10-12 noon. For more information please call Kelowna Community Resources 250-763-8008 ext 125; Kelowna Family Centre 250-860-3181 or the GRG Support Line at 1-855-474-977.  Download flyer here.

Volunteer Facilitator Training

Volunteer Facilitators Needed in the Metro Vancouver & Fraser Valley Areas!
What: A 20 Hr Facilitator Training
Where: Burnaby When: July 27-29 , 2018
Qualifications: Good Listening and Interpersonal Skills; An Interest in Improving Caregiver and Child Relationships; Basic Understanding of Child Development and Parenting Issues; Willing to do Community Outreach and Connections; Speak English, Spanish, Filipino, Mandarin, Cantonese, Arabic, and/or other languages; Able to volunteer in: Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey
Benefits: Extensive Facilitation Training & Continuing Education Will Be Provided; Develop Skills for Career & Personal; Growth; Letter of Reference Upon Request (Minimum 1 Year Commitment)
For more information or to register: 604-669-1616 or email office@parentsupportbc.ca. Or visit our Volunteers Page. Check out our downloadable poster: PSS of BC – Volunteer Facilitator Training
Dates: July 27 – 29 in Burnaby

Friday 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm
Saturday 9:00 am to 5:15 pm
Sunday 9:00 am to 5:15 pm

Full Attendance is Required
Application Deadline: July 13, 2018
Contact: daniela.alvarado-torres@parentsupportbc.ca or call 604-669-1616 ext 106 for more info.