Many parents in BC, especially in the inner city, are losing custody of their children when staying together would be possible if more community supports were available, says a report released today by Central City Foundation. The report, titled Families in BC. Are we doing everything we can to keep them together? calls on governments and funders to support community-led solutions that support parents to keep their children with them.
“Community-led initiatives identify needs in the community and show us ways that will work to make things better for families to stay together in BC,” says Jennifer Johnstone, President and CEO of Central City Foundation. “Child welfare is an essential issue that needs more of our attention if we are to break the chain of inter-generational traumas that we have created.”
This community report was compiled after detailed interviews with 24 community leaders at non-profit organizations working in the inner city. The resulting report details some of the long-term implications of removing kids from their families, and discusses how our child welfare system isn’t helping families. It explains how poverty, the lack of affordable housing and lack of options for childcare are often seen by the system as neglect, and how colonization has created inter-generational trauma that continues to affect families.
The Central City Foundation community report, which is available at www.centralcityfoundation.ca, highlights several examples of community-led solutions that are working to help families, and states that these should become the norm and not exceptions. People need to understand why some groups of parents are more likely to come to the attention of child welfare authorities and why the system is rigged against them once that happens. Governments and funders need to support the community to drive ideas, programs and solutions.
“We need to listen to families and the community and let them lead us toward finding better resources to prevent family separations, and better resources to rebuild families,” adds Johnstone. “Our community partners have important insights into how to implement positive solutions that help keep families together and support parents in keeping or regaining their children.”
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About Central City Foundation:
A leader in Canada in social purpose real estate, Central City Foundation has been bringing neighbours together for more than 100 years to improve the lives of people in need in Vancouver’s inner city through grants, sustainable social purpose real estate and investments in facilities and programs. CCF owns five buildings that provide low income housing and space and place for community organizations that are improving lives through unique early learning and education programs, daycares, health and family services, addiction treatment centres, and social enterprises.
Jennifer Johnstone is available for comment.