October 2023 Child and Family Report

By Valerie Hutton, Child and Family Convenor

In September’s newsletter I described the Foundry program in BC. The issues that Foundry supports are broad and comprehensive and are all pressing issues for most people, let alone youth. Here is an outline of these issues that are supported.

Mental health supports – Our mental health is an important part of our overall health and it can change from day to day. We must look after our mental health just like we do with our physical health. Here youth will find information, self-checks, tips, apps and tools, resources and stories from other young people to help them.

Substance use – Everyone has their own relationship with substance use and has their reasons for using them. People have used substances for thousands of years. Substance use can be part of a healthy, rewarding life; however, using any substances also comes with risks and things to consider. This area of support has information about alcohol, cannabis, opioids, tobacco, nicotine products and other substances. It can help youth understand how to manage use, learn how to reduce possible harms, and empower them to make decisions that are right for them. 

Tough topics – Life has its ups and downs, but sometimes we can experience really difficult things. Foundry addresses and supports the topics below by giving information, tips, apps and tools and where youth can get support when dealing with these tough times. These include:

  • loss and grief;
  • bullying;
  • self-injury;
  • suicide; and
  • violence and abuse.

Life, school and work -There are some skills in life that everyone needs. Managing money, finding housing and work are just a few of these things. Youth can learn more about these life skills at Foundry:

  • active living;
  • housing;
  • eating and nutrition;
  • mindfulness;
  • managing money;
  • on-line safety;
  • relationships;
  • school;
  • sexual wellness, and
  • work.

Why are youth supports like those provided by Foundry Important? 

Supporting youth with issues such as loss and grief, bullying, suicide, substance use, violence, and abuse is crucial for the well-being and future of our community. By addressing these challenges, we create a nurturing environment that promotes resilience, mental health, and positive development. When we provide support to young individuals facing loss and grief, we help them navigate through difficult emotions and build coping mechanisms that can benefit them throughout their lives. By tackling issues like bullying, suicide, substance use, violence, and abuse, we foster a safe and inclusive community where young people can thrive. Empowering our youth with resources, counseling, and guidance ensures that they have the necessary tools to overcome adversity, contribute meaningfully to society, and shape a brighter future for themselves and our entire community.

How Can you Help Support the Important work that Foundry Does? 

There are a lot of ways you can help Foundry support the health and well-being of BC’s young people. 

Help Promote

Spread the word about Foundry to your friends, family and colleagues through word of mouth and on your social platforms!



Donate today to ensure young people in BC thrive.



Contact your local Foundry office for current openings for volunteering.

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You will stay up to date with all the progress we are making for young people and their families across the province.


 For more information visit:


Related Foundry article link:


Check out these other programs and services that have come across my desk that support children and youth:

 More Kindergartners and Families will Benefit from Pilot Expansion


 Newly Named SAJE Supports Offer Youth in Care a Stronger Path to Adulthood


 Extra School Playground Funds Mean More Fun for More Kids, Families


 New Funding Improves Children’s Care at Canuck Place




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 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.


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.