On this Sept. 9, as we mark Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day, it is my sincere hope that British Columbians will take the time to stop and reflect. The date is significant. The ninth day of the ninth month of the year was chosen as international FASD Awareness Day to represent the critical nine months of pregnancy – the time when a mother must abstain from alcohol to protect her unborn baby.
The fact is that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can seriously harm an unborn child and create a lifelong disability. But as devastating as FASD is, it is also entirely preventable.
The provincial government announced today that it has hired an external contractor to review “matters arising from Judge Walker’s recent B.C. Supreme Court ruling.” Because this sort of contracted review is in my experience unprecedented, and to avoid public confusion given government’s use of the term “independent”, I wish to make it clear that the contracted process announced today is not one that is contemplated either by the Child, Family and Community Service Act(CFCS Act) or the Representative for Children and Youth Act (RCY Act).
This report summarizes the discussions that took place with provincial and Aboriginal leadership at A Forum for Change: Reconciliation for Today’s First Nations, Metis & Aboriginal Children Through Custom Adoption and Lifelong Family and Tribal Connections, held in Nanaimo in April. It also looks ahead to a fall Forum and building an action plan with real steps towards permanency in the lives of First Nations, Metis and Aboriginal children in government care.
This joint report between the Representative for Children and Youth and the Provincial Health Officer examines the question, “How are our children doing right now?” The report finds that while there have been some improvements, vulnerable children and youth, especially Aboriginal children and those in government care, continue to lag behind their peers. In addition, it found that with changes to the way governments are collecting data, it’s getting harder to get a clear picture of the well-being of B.C. children and youth.
For five years now, British Columbia has dedicated one week to reflect on the strengths, challenges and needs of each of you – the more than 8,000 children and youth in the care of our provincial government.
This report documents the downward spiral of a child who had great potential but never received the protection, nurturing and care she needed and deserved. Professional indifference to her life circumstances continually left her – and at times even actively placed her – in harm’s way.
The Representative for Children and Youth reviews and investigates child deaths and critical injuries to identify and thoughtfully analyze issues, particularly in service delivery. The intent is to help prevent similar deaths or injuries, and to inform improvements to services.