VICTORIA, B.C. - The B.C. Green Caucus applauds an overdue increase in funding for extended family members caring for children and says government must prioritize supporting families staying together.
“We need to value and support the people who are caring for the most vulnerable people in our province. The measures announced today are a good step in that direction,” said Sonia Furstenau, B.C. Green spokesperson for Children and Family Development.
“But we know that a huge number of kids are in the foster care system because their families live in poverty. Removing children from their homes just because their families are poor is an unacceptable solution. We also know that the outcomes for children who stay with their families are exponentially better than the outcomes for children who are apprehended. That is why we must prioritize supporting families staying together.”
Last year a review by the provincial chief coroner’s office found young people who left government care were five times more likely to die than other youth. In 2017, another provincial review found graduation rates for children in care was 51 percent, compared to 89 percent for the general population.
“Historic and ongoing colonialism has driven the apprehension of Indigenous children into a humanitarian crisis. Chief Ed John made 85 recommendations in his report on Indigenous Child Welfare. There is still much that remains to be done to address the humanitarian crisis in our province. We need to continue to work with Indigenous communities and the federal government to shift the jurisdiction over children to Indigenous communities. We need to ensure that funding goes directly to home-share providers. We urgently need to lift families out of poverty.
“I am glad that after ten years there is finally a funding increase for foster and adoptive families, but above all we must be working towards a future where children and parents are able to stay together.”