September 2023 Child and Family Report

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, 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,, 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.


February 2023 Child and Families Report

By Sheila Pepper, Child and Family Convenor


New information this month is a pilot project by BC Family Connections at four centres in BC for support and services. Family connections centres will provide a one-stop location for support, therapy and information. Centres will provide the same core services to everyone. Families will be able to access a centre from their local community. Smaller communities will have access using mobile services or virtual technology. Centre teams will create a comfortable, welcoming, inclusive and safe space by using a trauma-informed, culturally safe and respectful approach. Centres will be run by service providers contracted by the ministry.

Please consult challenges faced by BC families:

This report lists the many challenges families face: income security, employment, physical and mental health, addictions, housing, food, education, child care and protection, neighbourhood and community safety, violence, and legal issues.

Here is a link to the BC Child, Family and Community Services Act:

Another link to Children’s Rights and Participation in Family Law in BC:

Family caregiving at both ends of life is increasing for BC families. Additional services for parent, adolescent and family therapy are more in demand. The long Covid shutdowns have been complicating service availability.

The Minister of Child and Family Development is the Honourable Mitzi Dean and the Deputy Minister is Allison Bond. They have set up a new Indigenous child support program including aspects of reconciliation.

November 2022 Child and Family Report

By Sheila Pepper, Child and Family Convenor


Children and their families have continued to struggle with inflation and higher prices for almost all consumer goods they rely on every week: from housing, food, clothing, health and transportation basics, to education and community social connections. Over the summer and early fall, many of the BC advocacy organizations have been pushing the municipal and provincial authorities to follow up on their promises and expectations of improvements in these most important issues:

  • Bill 273, repeal of Section 43: Criminal Code defence of physical discipline of children. This has been a long time coming, as so many in previous generations considered this practice acceptable.
  • BC universal child care needs action, with special attention to new immigrant and refugee families. Language and social isolation contribute to these families’ difficulties in accessing all the help they need to return to work in their fields of expertise or some other field more easily accessed in Canada.
  • Several BC First Call Child and Youth Advocacy Society initiatives include: Living Wage for Families, Fostering Change, and Making Ends Meet. For more information see their web site here.
  • The Child and Youth Support Network is advocating for extended support for all children and youth to age 21, from the present 18, when they age out of provincial support. There are programs for independent youth/ older teens who have to leave foster families. These supports include housing, education, work experience, and food. More information on all these supports will be coming shortly.