Since 2020, we’ve all had to adapt to a new normal, although what that looks like is different for every person and family. While our world has never felt smaller, the past 2 years has also been a reminder that we are more connected than ever. 2021 was full of monumental moments – the ongoing effects of the pandemic, supply chain issues, broken infrastructure, and multiple extreme weather events from fires to floods.
Collaboration has been a constant theme with BCFPA’s work this year. It’s never been clearer that tackling big problems require people working together. With your support, we have achieved so much this year. Here are some of the things that have kept us busy in 2021:
After a 26-month process, the wording recommendations for the Chapter 5: Children and Youth in Care Policies (used by the child’s social worker) received approval from all levels of MCFD and Delegated Aboriginal Agencies including the Secretariat. The changes are in support of the Foster Parent Rights and are intended to ensure that social workers are guided by policy that is inclusive and respectful of your role as foster parents. Next steps will be to make an implementation plan to ensure that the community of social workers and foster parents are aware of the key changes. BCFPA is working with the policy division to co-host webinars during early 2022.
BCFPA gathered concerns from foster parents about the requirement for in-person visits with bio family while the rest of BC is told to keep their bubbles to those who live in the same home. Science and medical experts established a low incidence of COVID transmission from children so it was difficult to raise an argument to support ongoing virtual visits for foster children. Our lawyer advised that no exceptions should be made singling out our community members. We forwarded all concerns to MCFD provincial office.
Early in 2021, we met with Minister of Children and Family Development, the Honourable Mitzi Dean. She assured us that her office would continue to support our joint initiatives for policy change and discussions about the foster care maintenance rates.
The original and long-term underwriters for the Rider Insurance Program decided not to renew the program this year! We eventually identified a new underwriter who was willing to support BC’s foster parents with a similar program but with a higher deductible of $10,000.
BCFPA has worked with an external claims adjudicator to design a program to manage foster home damages that fall below the Rider deductible of $10,000. We are waiting to hear more from MCFD regarding this proposal.
While the provincial budget in 2021 didn’t include any increase specifically for foster parents, we are still working with MCFD’s Strategic Priorities division to envision what a future payment structure will look like including a potential additional level of care.
Aligning our BCFPA Branch operations with the revised Societies Act and our new Bylaws meant that small changes were needed. We engaged legal counsel to work with us throughout this process. During our discussions, we discovered that additional changes are necessary to bring our Branches into compliance. We adjusted our policy documents to provide clear guidelines for our Branch members.
We anticipate that BCFPA’s contract with MCFD in the future will include the regular revision of the Foster Family Handbook as well as new YouTube videos annually.
New BC Foster Basics videos have been uploaded to our YouTube channel! Although the pandemic impacted the post-production of the BC Foster Basics YouTube Series 3 videos, we recently finished and uploaded two videos: (1) A Day in the Life of a Social Worker and (2) Aging Out of Care.
BCFPA is in discussions with MCFD regarding the need for contract stability for foster parents who are caring for medically fragile children and youth. Recent situations wherein long-term contract funds have been unexpectedly reduced has resulted in placements that are put at risk.
Our Solutions Program has identified concerning gaps in the investigation review process. We will be addressing this with MCFD provincial office and hope discussions will lead to revision of the 8.20 – Family Care Home Investigation policy section and further conversations with the Quality Assurance team.
The Board had to make the difficult decision to change the 2021 AGM format from hybrid to 100% virtual. We were still able to offer virtual training and education which is accessible to foster and adoptive parents until September 2022. You can still register HERE. We also hosted three wellness webinars during Foster Family Month which you can access through our YouTube channel.
- To celebrate Adoption Awareness Month, we hosted a town hall with BC’s Provincial Director of Adoption to answer some questions you have about adopting your foster child.
We met with Minister Dean in the Fall to discuss our activities in the community. We are happy that her office is so supportive of our agency and our joint initiatives with MCFD! We hope to have some announcements ready for our community in the Spring of 2022.
BCFPA participated in resolving a challenging community advocacy situation that had been ongoing for several years. With the help of MCFD leadership in the region, we were able to work together in a true team effort to create a significant change that met the needs of the entire community.
In the Fall of 2021, our members voted to change our agency name to reflect our essential role as the voice for BC’s foster parents. This exciting change has been in the works for a long time!
The name change presented an opportunity to rebrand. Our logo has been slightly changed to BCFPA. The process of rebranding is more than just updating our logo. We also redesigned our website to better communicate our programs and services, becoming more user-friendly and modern. We understand your needs so our redesigned website now includes features such as online membership registration and renewal and increased dynamic content. You can also apply for our grants and bursaries online and upload documents that support your application. There will be more improvements to come in the new year!
With the bylaw changes, came a restructuring of our membership classifications:
Foster Parent Members (Voting): Foster parents can still pay a small fee to join as a foster parent member, make motions and vote at meetings, participate in directing our association’s programs and services and benefit from bursary and discount offerings. Your membership fees still support the family-focused and networking activities of our community branches.
Associate (Foster Parent/Non-Voting): We have added a classification for associate foster parents who want to join but aren’t interested in the nitty gritty of running our association. You can join at no cost, receive all of our general information, be eligible for some bursaries and ensure that your name is in our database for additional group offerings.
Community (Stakeholders/Donors/Non-Voting): This classification is available at no cost for our partners and donors who wish to be present in our database to receive our information.
We have more exciting projects lined up for 2022 so stay tuned!
Please note that the BCFPA Provincial Office will be closed for the holidays from December 20th to January 3rd. We will be back to regular office hours on Tuesday, January 4th.
We hope that you and your family stay well and safe. We wish you a holiday season full of joy, warmth, and love.
In Fall 2021, our members voted to change our agency name to BC Foster Parents Association to reflect our essential role as the voice for BC’s foster parents. While our logo has been changed to BCFPA, we still kept the tree within a leaf image which symbolizes strength, balance, grounding, roots, diversity and being an integrated part of a whole. BCFPA is truly another branch of the family tree!
EMERGENCY AFTER HOURS
Foster parents are encouraged to call this number in the event of an EMERGENCY or CRISIS occurring after regular office hours:
REPORT CHILD ABUSE
If you think a child or youth under 19 years of age is being abused or neglected, you have the legal duty to report your concern to a child welfare worker. Phone 1 800 663-9122 at any time of the day or night. Visit the Government of BC website for more info.
BCFPA Provincial Office
Suite 208 - 20641 Logan Avenue
Langley, BC V3A 7R3
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Our work takes place on the traditional and unceded Coast Salish territories of the Kwantlen, Katzie, Matsqui and Semiahmoo First Nations. BCFPA is committed to reconciliation with all Indigenous communities, and creating a space where we listen, learn and grow together.
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