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).
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.
Once a year, British Columbia dedicates a week to recognize the unique situations, strengths and struggles of the more than 8,000 children and youth in the care of the provincial government. It is an important time to remember and reflect on the needs and rights of these young people – and for me to speak directly to those of you for whom government care is, has been or may be a part of your childhood:
In honour of Social Work Week this year, I would like to extend my thanks and gratitude to the front-line workers in the child-serving system, and to applaud their chosen theme, “Social Workers Promoting Greater Social Equity.” This theme reminds us that social workers fill a key role in ensuring that B.C.’s most vulnerable children have the same opportunities as their peers.
Coast Capital Savings today announced the launch of a fund that will help youth formerly in care of the province access post-secondary education at British Columbia institutions. Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen-Turpel Lafond attended the launch and comments.
In British Columbia, an estimated 50,000 children and youth have special needs and require services and supports to thrive alongside their peers. Dec. 3, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, is an opportunity to reflect on whether they are safe and secure at school and in our communities, and if we must do more in our province to see their rights upheld.
National Child Day, a date that commemorates Canada’s adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), is more than just a day of recognition — it’s a reminder of the role we all have to play in protecting the rights of children.