By Valerie Hutton, Child and Family Convenor
A number of news articles and information affecting children, youth and families drew my attention in recent months. For this report, I focus on one in particular, as I feel it has the potential to impact youth and their families all across the province, and certainly in Vancouver and the lower mainland in the broadest sense.
The Foundry program in BC is a groundbreaking initiative that plays a crucial role in supporting youth across the province. As a comprehensive network of integrated youth service centers, Foundry provides a wide range of essential services and resources to young individuals between the ages of 12 and 24.
By addressing the unique challenges faced by youth, such as mental health issues, substance abuse, and social isolation, Foundry aims to ensure their overall well-being and empower them to thrive in all aspects of life.
Through its innovative and inclusive approach, the Foundry program has become a beacon of hope for young people, offering a safe and supportive environment where they can access the necessary care, guidance, and opportunities for a brighter future.
Foundry’s mission is to support young people in living a good life. This mission was co-created by a diverse group of youth, families, caregivers, staff and service providers. The phrase “living a good life” was inspired by First Nations and Métis youth who participated in a Talking Circle with Foundry, and it acknowledges the diverse nature, experiences and perspectives of health and wellness.
At the very core of the service is that young people should have a voice in their care and that finding the right support shouldn’t be difficult.
Foundry’s integrated services make it possible for young people to access five core services in one convenient location: mental health care, substance use services, physical and sexual health care, youth and family peer supports, and social services.
Young people can access the integrated services by walking into one of the 16 local Foundry centres, exploring the online tools and resources at foundrybc.ca, or by connecting virtually through the free Foundry BC app.
Foundry also represents community agencies, government, donors, youth and young adults, and families coming together to improve the wellness of BC’s young people. This network is made up of community-based health and social service centres and online tools and resources for young people and their families. Foundry has engaged over 140 partners across BC. Foundry Central Office, hosted by Providence Health Care, leads the provincial initiative and supports the development of local centres. Each Foundry centre is operated by a lead agency that brings together local partners, service providers, young people and caregivers. Foundry’s online platform, foundrybc.ca, is powered by BC Children’s Hospital.
Together, these partners provide safe, non-judgmental care, information and resources, and work to reach young people earlier – before health challenges become problematic. Foundry brings health and social services together in a single place to make it easier for young people to find the care, connection and support they need.
Foundry is committed to working with their partners to change lives, communities and our systems, because young people are our future.
Next month I will provide more information and links for other children, youth and family news about programs and supports that you might find of interest.