First Call Provincial Budget Brief – deadline for submissions October 17

First Call has submitted a written brief, Make BC’s Children and Youth the Priority for “Balanced Budget 2015″, to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services. On September 18, Provincial Coordinator Adrienne Montani also made an oral presentation to the committee.

We have framed the brief in child rights language, highlighting the value of investments and the costs of under-investments, and structured our recommendations around the 4 Keys to Success for Children and Youth.

We strongly encourage all of our partner organizations and allies to make a submission (deadline Friday, October 17) and to echo our recommendations (if you haven’t already done so) and to send us a copy of your submission. They are also seeking input from individuals in the form of a questionnaire on the finance website here. While the questions are very prescriptive, we encourage everyone to fill it in and to vote for the options to increase revenue through taxes.

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Filed under Call to Action, Campaigns and Issues, Economic Equality, First Call Actions & Events

Welfare Food Challenge begins – follow participants, sign petition at

The third annual Welfare Food Challenge started October 16, 2014, World Food Day, to raise awareness of the inadequacy of welfare rates in BC. Over one week, participants will live on food they purchase for $21 – the amount left over from a monthly social assistance cheque after paying rent, bus tickets and other expenses.

Find out how participants are living on $21 worth of food. Follow them at

You can take action by signing the petition to raise welfare rates in BC.

Related news:
Global News: Bif Naked begins B.C. welfare challenge, living on $3 a day for food

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Filed under Campaigns and Issues, Economic Equality

First Call Municipal Election Toolkit available for download

First Call’s municipal election toolkit is meant to support individuals and community groups in their advocacy for legislation, policy and practice that benefit children and youth and their families in the lead-up to the November 15 civic elections.

The toolkit is structured around the 4 Keys to Success. Each section highlights some of the current issues facing children, youth and families in BC, the role of the municipal government and suggests solutions government can act on, in the form of questions to candidates.

You can download a PDF version of the toolkit here.

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Filed under Campaigns and Issues, First Call Actions & Events, Safe and Caring Communities

2014 Vital Signs reports launched across Canada

This year, 10 communities in BC have produced Vital Signs reports: Abbotsford, Clayoquot Sound, Golden, Nanaimo, Phoenix (Grand Forks), Shuswap, Squamish, Sunshine Coast, Surrey and Victoria.

Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by community foundations across Canada that looks at the quality of life in local communities. For example, Nanaimo’s Vital Signs report found:

Rising Food Costs

The cost of food for a family of four on Vancouver Island per month was $873 in 2011, compared to $858 in 2009 and $695 in 2007.

Food Bank Clients

6,908 people used the Food Bank in Nanaimo at least once from July 2013-2014, including 2,259 children under the age of 18. This is up slightly from the year previous, with 6,718 people using the food bank, 2,244 of whom were children.

Childhood Development Vulnerability Rate

In 2013, 35% of children in the Nanaimo Ladysmith School District were considered “vulnerable” in at least 1 of 5 developmental areas: Physical Health & Well-Being, Language & Cognitive Development, Social Competence, Emotional Maturity & Communication Skills, & General Knowledge. This compares to the provincial vulnerability rate of 32.5%. Vulnerability refers to the portion of the population which, without additional support and care, may experience future challenges in school and society.

Youth Unemployment

In 2011, 16.3% of Nanaimo’s youth aged 15 – 24 were unemployed. This is comparable to the 16.6% national youth unemployment rate and 16.0% provincial rate, but higher than Nanaimo’s rate of 13.7% in 2006.

Youth Mental Health

In 2013, 67.6% of surveyed youth aged 12-19 in Central Vancouver Island (includes Nanaimo) rated their mental health status as “excellent” or “very good.” This compares to 75.4% nationally and 69.0% provincially.

Download all the reports at

See related news on Vital Signs reports paint a stark picture of youth unemployment across Canada

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Filed under Resource, Safe and Caring Communities

Fact sheet: Strong Women, Strong Nations: Aboriginal Maternal Health in British Columbia

Aboriginal women experience a disproportionate burden of adverse maternity experiences, including higher rates of gestational diabetes, birthing long distances from home, and post-partum depression compared to non-Aboriginal women, reports this fact sheet from the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health

The fact sheet provides background on why maternal health is important to Aboriginal communities, reviews what is known about Aboriginal maternal health and maternity experiences in BC, and describes best and promising practices in Aboriginal maternity care, including Aboriginal doula training and Aboriginal midwifery.

Download this and other NCCAH publications

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Filed under Early Childhood Development, Research

New report: In the Best Interests of the Child: Strategies for Recognizing and Supporting Canada’s At-Risk Population of Children with Incarcerated Parents

Working with University of the Fraser Valley’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and School of Social Work, the Centre for Safe Schools and Communities has developed a best-practices model for responding to children who have a parent in the criminal justice system.

The report examines current tools and strategies used in BC, Canada and internationally to prevent the cycle of criminal justice contact for children of an incarcerated parent, to reduce their risk of involvement with child protection services and to aid their resiliency.

Download the report

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Filed under Research, Safe and Caring Communities

FNHA Winter Wellness grants – deadline October 27

The First Nations Health Authority is offering Winter Wellness grants of $1,000 to $5,000 to encourage the development of innovative, culturally grounded health promotion events and campaigns.

Communities, organizations and agencies engaged in direct health service delivery to BC First Nations and/or Aboriginal people may apply. Eligible challenges will be based on the four wellness streams: Being Active, Healthy Eating, Nurturing Spirit and Respecting Tobacco.

Deadline for applications: Monday, October 27 at 4:00 pm. Learn how to apply

Source: BCACCS E-News

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Filed under Events and Opportunities, Youth Transitions