Celebrations are always better with dancing, so to help kick off B.C. Child and Youth in Care Week, hundreds of British Columbians are expected to participate in several flash mobs throughout the province to show support for B.C.'s children and youth in government care.
May 20-26 is B.C. Child and Youth in Care Week to acknowledge and celebrate children and youth in care and to help combat negative stereotypes and social stigmas.
It was a youth-driven idea to create the week, which was first proclaimed in 2011, making B.C. the only province in Canada to celebrate such a week. The theme, "Notice. Listen. Respect. Stand with B.C. children and youth in care," was written by youth in care.
On Tuesday, May 22 at 4 p.m., a flash mob just might break out near you. While flash mobs commonly rely on the element of surprise to grab attention, these are ones children and youth in care want everyone to know about in advance. They'll be happening at the following locations:
- Vancouver - Art Gallery
- Surrey - Guildford Town Centre
- Squamish - Pavilion Park
- Nanaimo - Woodgrove Centre
- Campbell River - Spirit Square
The Ministry of Children and Family Development has worked with several key partners in planning celebration events for the week: the Federation of B.C. Youth in Care Networks, the Federation of Aboriginal Foster Parents, the B.C. Federation of Foster Parent Associations and the Adoptive Families Association of B.C. - as well as the children and youth themselves.
Regional events such as barbecues, picnics, bowling parties, a roller derby and youth awards will be held throughout the province during the week. A provincial celebration event will be held with children, teens, caregivers and the ministry on May 23 in Vancouver.
Mary McNeil, Minister of Children and Family Development -
"Children and youth in care, like all children and youth, deserve to have their accomplishments and talents recognized and celebrated. We want to support each and every one of these children and youth in reaching their dreams, and in succeeding."
"I encourage everyone across the province to take notice and to stand in solidarity with children and youth in care."
Parveen Khtaria, former youth in care -
"I'm not invisible, and neither are the 8,000+ other foster children and youth in this province. B.C. Child and Youth in Care Week showcases the talent, the passion and the resilience of each of these kids."
"Through the awareness of foster care issues created by B.C. Child and Youth in Care week, I hope that more kids in care will experience permanence and graduate high school. Foster kids are our kids, and this week gives us an opportunity to celebrate them and each of their personal achievements."
Lorena Pilgrim, interim executive director, Federation of B.C. Youth in Care Networks -
"Three years ago, our youth members asked the ministry for a youth in care week, and we're very happy to be celebrating B.C. Child and Youth in Care Week for the second year in a row. It's the first of its kind in the country, and it provides us all an opportunity to take notice and come together to celebrate youth in and from care and their remarkable resilience."
"More important, however, is that it serves as a reminder that, like all young people, youth in and from care need support from their community to become who they want to be-it's our collective responsibility to stand with youth in and from care and support them to pursue the goals and relationships they choose."
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, the Representative for Children and Youth -
"I never cease to be amazed by this incredible group of young people, their amazing resilience to overcome challenging situations and their positive contributions to the child- and youth- serving system. The second annual Youth in Care Week is a youth-driven initiative where young people have used their voices to pave a better path for those who follow in their footsteps."
"Please join me in celebrating these young champions!"
- Approximately 8,200 children and youth are in government care in B.C, a 20 per cent decline from 2001.
- In addition to securing temporary or permanent places for children and youth who cannot live with their parents, the Ministry of Children and Family Development 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 2012-13 is $40 million, an increase of $14 million since 2000-01.
Check out the ministry's B.C. Child and Youth in Care Week webpage: http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/foster/incare_week.htm
To watch a video created by youth for B.C. Child and Youth in Care Week, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7q9OOmZKdM&lr=1&feature=mhee
Learn more about the Federation of B.C. Youth in Care Networks: www.fbcyicn.ca
To learn more about the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth, go to: www.rcybc.ca
Ministry of Children and Family Development
250 812-7977 (cell)