Bring it! Bring your support, bring your strength, bring your solidarity - it's time to celebrate B.C. Child and Youth in Care Week.
Drawing inspiration from their own life experiences and unique stories, a group of youth in and out of government care have created their own hip-hop music video for the week. The youth-inspired theme is: "Notice. Listen. Respect. Stand with B.C. children and youth in care". Using their voices, the youth impart powerful and meaningful messages about what it's like to be a youth in care - highlighting their needs, issues and ideas, as well as their artistic talents.
The video was storyboarded, written, performed, and produced by the youth themselves - with the help of Reel Youth in partnership with the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Four youth, both in and out of government care, aged 14, 16, 18 and 20, participated in the creation of the video.
The video was filmed over the weekend of May 6-8 in New Westminster. The video was facilitated, filmed and edited by Reel Youth - which is a not-for-profit, media empowerment program supporting youth, adults, organizations and businesses to create and distribute engaging films about the issues they care about most. To protect the identities of the young people in the video, artistic elements such as shadows and silhouettes were incorporated.
The video will be launched today at a provincial celebration event in Vancouver, where children and youth in care will be in attendance. Other guests include Minister of Children and Family Development Mary McNeil, the Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, and representatives from the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks, the Federation of Aboriginal Foster Parents and the BC Federation of Foster Parent Associations. It will be a private function where young people can be free to showcase their amazing artistic talents and achievements, including a display of imaginative pieces of art created by children and youth in care from across B.C.
A new activity book for young children in care - titled "This is Me - and I Have Rights" - will be unveiled at the event. The workbook, produced by the ministry, educates children about their rights as outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It helps children in care between the ages of 3 and 8 learn about their rights through a creative, supportive and fun approach.
The B.C. Child and Youth in Care Week, May 23-29, 2011, is a first for British Columbia, and B.C. is the only province in Canada to celebrate such a week. The week celebrates the individuality, accomplishments and talents of children and youth in care, and it encourages community members from all walks of life to stand in solidarity with young people in care. Many regional celebration events will be held in communities across B.C. throughout the week - such as picnics, barbecues and youth awards.
Youth participants in youth video, ages 14, 16, 18, and 20 (some of the lyrics from the video) -
"Empower us to be who we want to be. This week is a celebration for me. I believe anything can happen. Here I am, never thought I'd be rappin'. Some of us have been thru it all. Keep our heads up and not fall. Never give up, you gotta answer the call. To get what you want you gotta stay on the ball."
- There are approximately 8,400 children and youth in government care in B.C. That's an 18 percent decline from 2001, when the number of children and youth in care in B.C. was approximately 10,200.
- In 2011-12, the ministry is spending $371.5 million on child protection services. This includes foster care and guardianship, as well as delegated agencies.
- The ministry is committed to ensuring the safety of B.C.'s children and youth, by providing services for vulnerable youth engaged in high-risk activities.
- The ministry funds a range of youth services that include outreach workers, youth support workers, youth and family mediation, guardianship, safe house and emergency shelter beds, transitional housing, youth agreements, and support services to sexually exploited youth - in addition to programs like the Youth Education Assistance Fund and Agreements with Young Adults.
- The youth services budget for 2011-12 is $38 million - which is an increase of $12 million since 2000-01.
- The ministry works in close collaboration with several key partners on matters related to children and youth in government care - including the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks, the Federation of Aboriginal Foster Parents, and the BC Federation of Foster Parent Associations.
To view the new section of the ministry website dedicated to B.C. Child and Youth in Care Week, where you can view the youth video and the new activity book for young children in care, go to: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/foster
To learn more about Reel Youth, go to: www.reelyouth.ca
To learn more about the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks, go to: www.fbcyicn.ca
To learn more about the Federation of Aboriginal Foster Parents, go to: www.fafp.ca
To learn more about the BC Federation of Foster Parent Associations, go to: www.bcfosterparents.ca
To learn more about the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth, go to: www.rcybc.ca
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Children and Family Development