Three updates on the child support clawback campaign

  1. Legal Action: On October 14, 2014, three families and the Single Mothers’ Alliance of BC filed a legal action in the BC Supreme Court to challenge the clawback of child support payments from families on income and disability assistance in BC. The case alleges that deducting child support from families on assistance violates their right to equality under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Read the press release from the Community Legal Assistance Societies’ website.
  1. Minister to attend First Call Coalition Meeting: At the legislature’s public accounts committee meeting MLA David Eby asked about the impacts of child support payment clawbacks on children. Molly Harrington, the assistant deputy minister for the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, responded by saying that they would be seeking to discuss the impacts with First Call coalition members. First Call has followed up with Molly Harrington and she and other ministry staff will be attending the November coalition meeting, and Minster Don McRae will be attending First Call’s December coalition meeting. We encourage our partners and supporters to attend these coalition meetings to offer feedback on the impact of the clawbacks.
  1. UBCM Motion Passed: Maple Ridge put forward a motion to the Union of BC Municipalities conference about the clawback of child support from single parents on income assistance. First Call wrote a letter to all of the Union of BC Municipalities convention delegates in support of this and other motions that are important to the rights and well-being of children and youth in BC. The motion passed and we are heartened by this show of support from our municipal representatives; however, we are disappointed that the resolution included a $300 monthly cap. We will continue to educate the public and our elected leaders about the importance not only of stopping the clawback, but of also allowing children to benefit from all the funds paid on their behalf.

Take Action: BC ACORN has an email tool where you can email the Minister of Social Development and Innovation, Don McRae, today and tell him to stop taking child support payments away from the poorest children in BC.

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Filed under Campaigns and Issues

Handy online questionnaire on poverty reduction for civic election candidates in the Capital region

The Community Action Plan on Poverty Steering Committee is asking candidates in the upcoming municipal election to state their views on poverty in their municipality (in the Capital region), and explain what they intend to do to take action on poverty reduction. If you know a candidate, ask them to complete the questionnaire

You can search for their responses on CAPP’s  webpage

Source: CAPP e-news

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Filed under Campaigns and Issues, Resource

Canada and BC’s new homeless prevention program

BC’s new Homeless Prevention Program (HPP) will make rent supplements and support services available to four at-risk groups: youth transitioning out of foster care, women who have experienced violence or are at risk of violence, individuals leaving the hospital and correctional systems, and Aboriginal people.

Monthly supplements provided to participants to put towards housing costs will be funded through the Canada-B.C. Investment in Affordable Housing. The province has also promised to contribute additional funding to support services that connect clients to community supports, helping them to maintain successful tenancies.

The HPP is available in six communities around BC and the provincial government says it will be expanded to over 30 communities.

Read the news release from BC Housing.

Read related news from the Times Colonist: Affordable housing in Victoria gets boost from B.C. program

Source: Canadian Social Research Newsletter

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For early years community developers – EYCD Competency Framework

The voices of engaged early years coordinators from around BC have helped create the EYCD Competency Framework  – a supportive professional development tool designed to highlight the knowledge and skills of an early years community developer.

Consider using it to help describe the role a of an early years community developer, choose professional development activities, define job roles and recruit staff, and more.

Find the framework here

Source: EYCDI e-Newsletter

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Filed under Early Childhood Development, Resource

2014 Vital Signs report – Boundary communities

This week we look at the Vital Signs report from the Phoenix Foundation for the Boundary region located between the Okanagan Valley and the West Kootenays on the Canada/US border. Communities include Christina Lake, Grand Forks, Greenwood, Midway, Rock Creek, Westbridge, Bridesville and Beaverdell.

Vital Signs is an annual checkup conducted by community foundations across Canada that looks at the quality of life in local communities. The Boundary report included input from 83 youth ages 15-18 gathered at Vital Signs youth forums.

Among the findings from the Boundary communities report:

Work

In 2013, 45% of School District #51 Boundary students in grades 7 to 12 worked during the school year, well above the provincial average of 29%.

Gap between Rich & Poor

In 2010, 22% of children (17 and under) in Boundary were living in low-income households; the figure for BC was 19% and 17% for Canada.

Health

In 2013, among Boundary youth in grades 7 to 12, 88% reported they were in good or excellent physical health, 9% reported suffering from depression and 6% from anxiety.

Safety

From April 2014 to March 2014, the Boundary Women’s Transition House provided 1010 bed days (up from 934 the previous year); about 75% of these bed days were filled by women, the other 25% children.

In 2013, 11% of School District #51 Boundary students in Grades 7-12 reported having been cyberbullied in the past year, down from 22% in 2008.

Food Security

On average, 266 people accessed the Boundary Community Food Bank every month. Of those, 28% were children.

Download reports from BC communities (Abbotsford, Clayoquot Sound, Golden, Nanaimo, Phoenix (Grand Forks), Shuswap, Squamish, Sunshine Coast, Surrey and Victoria) at vitalsignscanada.ca

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Filed under Research, Safe and Caring Communities

Lessons for Climate Justice: Free resources for teachers and communities

There are lots of resources for students to learn about climate change, but not a lot for students to explore and work towards climate justice. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – BC Office is helping change that with their Climate Justice Project.

The CCPA’s new website teachclimatejustice.ca features downloadable classroom lessons (designed for BC-prescribed learning outcomes and to fit into both core and elective subject areas) exploring how growing inequality and climate change are linked, and how acting on them can make our province and our lives better and fairer. You’ll find Powerpoint files, links to videos and resources and individual lesson PDFs.

Lessons cover food democracy, waste systems, city design, fracking (including Indigenous perspectives), the green economy, story-telling frameworks and more.

The lessons were made for high school but are easily adaptable for upper elementary, college/university or community settings.

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Filed under Resource, Youth Transitions

New report from the Capital region: Solutions to youth unemployment

The Community Social Planning Council’s report, published by the BC Centre for Employment Excellence, titled Pathways to Success for Youth in BC’s Capital Region: The Power and Potential of Social Enterprise, presents the need for action in creating employment opportunities for young people in the region and offers some best practice models from other places.

Social enterprises that create training, skills development and employment for youth have been successful in many parts of Canada, but are a neglected sector in our region. The Council is now exploring implementation of a new generation of employment social enterprises for the region with a variety of stakeholders willing to experiment with new models to create successful employment outcomes for youth and others.

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Filed under Research, Youth Transitions