Budget 2009: Making ourselves heard

A toolkit for effective community engagement

July 2009

To the members of the Federation of Community Social Services Re: Projected budget cuts
The recession that we all saw coming is now upon is, prompting the provincial government to take the unusual and unsettling step of revising the budget for 2009-10 in September. Significant cuts to funding are expected, with the potential for even deeper cuts in the spring. With so many of our member agencies already weak from years of insufficient funding, this is a dire turn of events for our sector. We are urging members to take action immediately to bring public and political attention to the good community work we do and the serious impact that will be felt if the services we provide have to be reduced any further. We asked you in the run-up to the provincial election to join us in participating in a consistent, province-wide strategy to highlight concerns and profile the important work of your agency to politicians and the public. Now the need for action is all the more pressing. We need to tell the stories of the vital role our sector plays in the health of our communities, and the efficient, high-quality supports and service we provide for building social infrastructure. This package is a revised and updated version of the Election 2009 toolkit you received from the Federation in the spring. Now more than ever, it’s so important to be out there in the public eye with a consistent, persistent message focused on the work we do and the diverse people we serve. Both the public and politicians need clear reminders that social services provide the foundation for building strong, self-reliant citizens, now and into the future. We know you’re busy. But this is an issue of utmost urgency if we hope to prevent the kind of cuts that we know will profoundly hinder our agencies’ ability to help people. Please work with us in getting our voices heard by taking the time to meet with your MLAs and speak to key groups in your community about the impact of budget cuts. We’ll also be organizing regular conference calls for agencies wanting help in developing story ideas for media use. We look forward to your participation in this essential campaign. Sincerely, Nanette Taylor, President

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Budget 2009 Toolkit
e hope you will find this toolkit useful for raising awareness in your community about the challenges our sector is facing and the excellent work that we do in providing vital services to all ages of British Columbians. Now more than ever, we need to get the word out about the importance of the work we do. In the following pages, you’ll find: • A brief summary of the Federation strategy in the run-up to the September 2009 provincial budget. • Key messages you can use for your communications with media, the community and provincial election candidates. • An extensive backgrounder with facts and figures that will help you make a strong case for the importance of a healthy social-service sector. • A “how-to” guide to help you engage with your MLA and other key provincial politicians. • A “how-to” guide for connecting with the media, including tips on identifying a good story from your organization to take to the media, and contact information. • A sample press release, letter to government, and newspaper opinion piece.

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Provincial Budget Strategy
Broad Strategy

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he Federation sees Provincial budgets as an opportunity to profile to politicians and the public the importance of the community social services sector to the vitality and well being of B.C.’s communities and people. This will be accomplished through a steady, province-wide process engaging member agencies in all communities, centred on key messages and profiling local agency programs, stories and issues. Provincial Level

At the provincial level, the Federation will do five key things: 1. Develop a budget package for members with key messages, background information and toolbox material to assist in dealing with the media. 2. Stay abreast of issues at the provincial level and ensure members have the latest information. 3. Coordinate with BC networks and organizations to amplify our messages. 4. Send letters to and meet with the Ministers, government officials and media regarding pertinent issues facing the sector. 5. Work with MCFD in considering approaches for finding $3.6 million in savings in the community sector. Local Level At the local level, we are asking agencies to get involved in helping to take our message to the province by doing the following: 1. Use this toolkit to create your own anecdotes for media use, public speaking, letters, etc infused with the stories of your agency. What is it that the politicians and the public need to pay attention to in your area? 2. Meet in person with your local MLA and other provincial candidates so they know the issues, challenges and successes of your agency. 3. Look for opportunities to tell your story in the community prior to the budget. This could be at service club meetings, community events, or through the media (See article in the toolkit from Peach Arch ED David Young). 4. Keep the Federation informed on local issues and relevant events during this time, and aware of media interest you attract. 5. Seek out allies and spokespeople in the community who can take your message to tables and organizations that you don’t have access to.

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Key Messages
Provincial Budget – September 2009

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ere are some key messages for Federation members to build on when you’re speaking to MLAs, the media, or opinion leaders in your community about challenges the sector is facing. (Please note that further facts and statistics Please related to these messages are included in the package.) You won’t need every message every time. Select the ones that you think will have the most resonance with your agency and community, then develop specific examples from your agency’s work that help make your point. Bring the points to life for your listener by talking about how they actually play out in your day-today operations.

Now more than ever, we must strengthen our social services to prepare for increased demand for services. B.C.’s investment in social services has not kept up with the demand for services - demand that we know will increase over the next 36 months as the true impact of the global recession hits home. Our social service providers will need greater capacity to help our citizens weather these tough times.

• The slumping economy is hitting our communities hard Income assistance hard. cases in B.C. have increased 13 per cent from a year ago, and the number of people receiving federal employment insurance has skyrocketed. Men and women are losing their jobs and families are under increasing amounts of stress. Social services exist to help people during such times in their lives. Eight years of provincial effort to reduce welfare rolls through job training and work placement will be for nothing if working families stressed by a flagging economy can’t find the help they need to hang on. • Investing in the social infrastructure of our communities is a smart commun ities decision. business decision Whether as a major employer, a contributor to the provincial economy, or a change agent in the lives of tens of thousands of British Columbians seeking help and support, the social services sector provides exceptional value for every dollar invested. Some quick facts: o Prevention pays off. Every dollar invested in early childhood development, for instance, saves $7 in downstream costs. Available childcare contributes to business productivity. Keeping one child out of state care saves thousands of tax dollars each year. o The social services sector employs more than 65,000 people, making it a substantive contributor to B.C.’s economy.

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o The health and social services sector is B.C.’s second largest employer and contributes six per cent annually to B.C.’s GDP, comparable to the construction industry. o More than 80 per cent of workers in the sector are women. An investment in social services is an investment in the lives of working women. • together. Social services hold our communities together. Look deeper into the factors determining a community’s success, and you’ll find a vast network of agencies quietly supporting people of all ages to live healthier, happier lives. Social services help people retrain and find employment; work to keep families together by strengthening parents’ ability to care for and protect their children; assist in finding housing, food and shelter; counsel abused or abandoned children and youth; support adults and children living with disabling conditions such as autism, schizophrenia or fetal alcohol syndrome; help youth learn how to live independently and productively; support senior citizens in being able to stay their own homes. We need to tell our stories. The vital work of the education and health sectors cannot be accomplished cannot without an effective social services sector. Whether it’s a school breakfast program, a service that supports senior citizens in transitioning from hospital to home, or youth services to keep teens in school, the work of all three sectors is tightly linked. Stress level, community connection, early childhood environment and poverty are recognized around the world as far more significant predictors of people’s health as adults than medical conditions or lifestyle. An impoverished childhood, for instance, is a more potent predictor of the incidence of cardiovascular disease or diabetes than later life circumstance or lifestyle choices. We want B.C.’s children to grow up in the best place in the world. Yet for the fifth year in a row, B.C. continues to have the highest rate of child poverty in Canada. We must invest now in the social infrastructure to ensure future generations grow up in a strong and prosperous province. Social services form a web of support and caring throughout our communities that deserves to be recognized and supported at all levels as a key component of community health and well-being.

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Myth Busters
Inaccurate theories have a way of getting circulated and ending up being considered “truths,” even though no evidence backs up the claim. Here are a few of the most common ones for the social-services and not-for-profit sectors. Please raise these myths when talking to politicians and the public, so that they can be debunked once and for all. Myth #1 – There are too many agencies You’ve heard the argument: If the sector could amalgamate into fewer agencies, we’d save on administrative costs and find other efficiencies. We know of no study suggesting the optimum number of service providers for any specific population, or anything that suggests that a number of small agencies are less efficient than, say, a massive government structure or private company. The community social services sector pays attention to efficiencies, as would be expected of a sector that has to work very hard for its funding. Advantages of having a number of smaller agencies include: choice for consumers; a broader base of volunteers creating community capital; ability to accommodate different cultures and populations. are Myth #2 – Agencies are holding onto unearned revenue and surplus The issue of unearned revenue vs. surplus continues to be confusing in the province. Unearned revenue is traditionally considered to be monies received for programming that did not occur. (An agency receives money to staff a program, but can’t recruit staff so is not able to fully deliver the service, for example). The contracts with agencies typically address this scenario and funds are either returned to the funder or reallocated – by agreement with the funder– to the delivery of other services. There are not millions of dollars in unearned revenues sitting in the sector agencies. Surplus results when agencies create efficiencies over the course of the year through various means and still deliver the agreed-upon service. In some regions, agencies can retain a surplus of up to 5 per cent of their total budget, with surplus beyond either this amount either returned to the funder or negotiated back into the budget for other purposes. Developing financial capacity to meet contingencies is a prudent accounting practice – and an expectation of auditors. Few agencies accrue large sums through retaining legitimate surpluses.

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Myth #3 – Social services are a drain on the economy Social services do not ‘produce wealth’ like the business sector does, but they help produce conditions that allow businesses to thrive in a stable society. Social service agencies create social capital, a term the World Bank describes as “not just the sum of the institutions which underpin a society – it is the glue that holds them together." But even when compared to the business sector, B.C.’s social services sector stands out. It employs 65,000 people and is a significant contributor to the economy. Salaries and wages are generally spent in the communities where they are earned. Social services also save money. Home support services allow seniors to live in their own homes. Programs to assist those with disabilities help them engage in the workforce. Family interventions prevent children from going into care. Services to troubled youth keep them from further trouble as adults. Myth #4 – Social service agencies don’t know how to run a business Most of B.C.’s community based social services agencies have been accredited by one of two large international accreditation bodies, and face on-going accreditation surveys every three years. Agencies must meet strict standards with respect to business and program management. Given rising demand in times of shrinking resources, most boards and executive directors have become extremely adept at managing their funding carefully.

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Did you know….?
Facts and findings on social health in BC and Canada
B.C. and Canada must do more to help British Columbians in need
• British Columbia had the highest child poverty rate in Canada for the fifth year in a row, with 16 per cent of children in this province living below the poverty line. (CTV, Report on Child Poverty, 2009) Aboriginal and recently immigrated children have a poverty rate of 49 per cent. (First Call, 2009) Young children living in persistent poverty are twice as likely as their peers to have lower IQ levels and behavioural problems. (Reaching for the Top) Low-income families in B.C. have increased 13.3 per cent since 2001. Unemployment in BC is up 68 per cent over the past year. Income Assistance cases among adults able to work rose by nearly 50 per cent; personal bankruptcies, up 78 per cent; Employment Insurance caseload, up 114 per cent (Stats Canada) EI benefits in B.C. are up 6.2 per cent as of May 2009. (Statistics Canada, May 2009) 103,000 fewer British Columbians had full-time jobs in May compared to a year ago. (First Call, 2009) The richest earners in Canada now earn 13 times more in annual income than the poorest group, compared to nine times more in 1989. (First Call) Canada tied for last among OECD countries evaluated in a 2008 UNICEF report on proposed child care standards. Canada met only one of the 10 benchmarks. Among 29 OECD nations, Canada ranks 21st in child well-being, including mental health. (Reach for the Top) 41 per cent of parents in a recent B.C. study said that cost was a significant barrier to their child’s involvement in out-of-school activities. (United Way, 2007)

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Social support builds strong, connected citizens and communities
• Single mothers receiving higher levels of social support are more nurturing toward their children, less isolated, and less likely to report feeling overwhelmed. (Fostering Family Resiliency, 2008) Strengthening coping skills in mothers reduces behavioural problems in their children, while strong coping skills of parents overall are correlated with fewer financial problems and reduced risk of cognitive/behavioural problems among their children. (Fostering Family Resiliency 2008) Children who have had early childhood education programs experience benefits that persist throughout their lives, including better school performance and lower juvenile crime rates. (Reaching for the Top) Just knowing support is there if you need it increases family resiliency as much as actually receiving the services. (Fostering Family Resiliency 2008)

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Experiences from conception to age six have the most important influence of any time in the life cycle on the connecting and sculpting of the brain’s neurons. (Reaching for the Top) Every $1 invested in early childhood development is worth $3-$18 later in life and has been proven to lead to: higher intelligence scores, higher and timelier school enrolment, less grade repetition and a lower dropout rate, and higher school completion. Protective factors such as family, school and cultural connectedness can help vulnerable youth overcome negative experiences and make healthier choices. (McCreary Centre Society, Adolescent Health Survey, 2008) Young people who are connected, valued, and engaged are less likely to become involved in risky behaviours and more likely to be resilient and involved in their communities. (McCreary Adolescent Health Survey III, 2003) Parents who take part in frequent joint activities with their children protect their children from externalizing behaviour problems and juvenile delinquency. (Fostering Family Resiliency 2008) Children with learning disabilities who have encouraging adult mentors in their lives have been proven to be much better adapted than those without such support. (Fostering Family Resiliency 2008) Family Resource Programs and other community initiatives support parents and other caregivers to provide developmentally encouraging environments for children. (First Call, 2009)

B.C.’s children and families need our help
• • Surrey Food bank has seen an increase of 1,000 people a day in 2009. More than 40 per cent are children and babies. (CTV Report on Child Poverty, April 2009) Twenty-five per cent of B.C. girls and 14 per cent of boys have been physically or sexually abused. (McCreary Centre, Adolescent Health Survey) Youth reporting physical abuse rose two per cent to 17 per cent in the last five years. Figures on youth reporting sexual abuse (8 per cent) and both physical and sexual abuse (5 per cent) showed no change. (McCreary, Adolescent Health

Survey, 2008)
• More than a fifth of B.C. youth have challenging home lives due to factors such as moving three or more times a year, being in foster care in the previous year, running away, or worrying about violence or drug/alcohol use in their home environment. Youth who have been sexually abused, have a disability or chronic illness, or are and gay, lesbian or bisexual are particularly vulnerable to be physically assaulted by their partner. (McCreary, Adolescent Health Survey 2008) Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth in Canada. Aboriginal youth are 5-6 times more likely to commit suicide than other youth. (BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions, 2006). Gay and lesbian youth are six times more likely to commit suicide than straight youth. (McCreary Centre Society, 2003)


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Adolescents who report seriously considering suicide have declined in the last 15 years, but more than one in five females and one in 10 males still report having deliberately self harmed themselves, although not for suicidal reasons. (McCreary

Adolescent Health Survey 2008)
• • Almost a fifth of abused teens have substance abuse problems. (McCreary Adolescent Health Survey) B.C. youth from unstable, challenging homes are more than twice as likely as youth from stable homes to experience problems with substance abuse and to have been involved in a violent incident in the past year. Boys from unstable homes are five times more likely to have attempted suicide in the previous year, and girls are four times more likely. A third of children in foster care in BC struggle with mental illness and behavioural issues. (Representative for Children and Youth, 2007) Children under 18 account for 21 per cent of all Canadian physical assaults, and 61 per cent of all sexual assaults. The sum is worse than the parts: Four or more risk factors in a child’s life disproportionately increase their difficulties ten-fold.

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Healthy families matter
• • Positive parenting, high-quality child care and nurturing neighbourhoods help mitigate effects of low socio-economic status. (Reaching for the Top) Children and youth who have had a healthy start to life - through access to affordable healthy foods, education programs and affordable, community-based physical education programs - are more likely to be successful at school and go on to enter the job market and be successful in their chosen profession. (Reaching for the Top) Youth with health conditions or disability are at higher risk for poor health, emotional distress, suicide, abuse, smoking and substance use than youth without disabilities or chronic health conditions. (McCreary Adolescent Healthy Survey III,

2003).
• Children who have had the benefit of early childhood education programs experience benefits that persist throughout their lives, including better school performance and lower juvenile crime rates. (Reaching for the Top) Across all ages and all child problems, family dysfunction (as measured by problem-solving ability, communication, affective response and behavioural control) and maternal depression are the most important determinants of poor outcome for children. (Human Resources Development Canada: Understanding Contribution of Multiple Risk Factors on Child Development, 1998) More than a fifth of BC children live in single-parent families. Among single families, 43 per cent are low income (CTV Report on Child Poverty,

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April 2009)
The number of children living on welfare has jumped almost nine per cent in the first half of 2009. A single employable parent with two children receives no more than $660 a month on income assistance for rent. (First Call, 2009) Average rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in Vancouver is $1, 071. (Canada Rentals) The Standing Committee on Health found low income was the “largest barrier to participation in both unorganized and organized sports” and that this was

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“particularly true for First Nations and Inuit children.” Of more than 500 First Nations schools, just half have a gym. (First Call, 2009) Almost 10,000 BC children are being raised by their grandparents. Children of parents experiencing depression are twice as likely as their peers to have problems in their lives - aggressive behaviour, emotional problems, conduct disorder, hyperactivity, and trouble at school. (HRDC) Positive parenting practice reduces the odds of a child having to repeat a grade by 52 per cent. It also reduces the risk of an emotional disorder by 41 per cent, and the risk of conduct disorder by 25 per cent. (HRDC)

extraordinary B.C.’s aboriginal youth in particular face extraordinary challenges
• • • While aboriginals make up 10 per cent of B.C.’s total youth population, they account for 54 per cent of youth involved in a street lifestyle. Infant mortality rates and injury deaths of aboriginal children in Canada rank among developing nations. (First Call, 2009) Living conditions for aboriginal Canadians are comparable to developing countries, with a communicable-disease rate that’s 10-12 times above the national average and 40 per cent of housing deemed inadequate shelter. Of 410 aboriginal youth surveyed who were living on the street:
42 per cent had been in foster care 30 per cent of males and 23 per cent of females had been sexually exploited One in three had been pregnant or had caused a pregnancy. Over 40 per cent had first run away at age 12 or younger; one in three had been kicked out by age 12. 47 per cent had gone hungry at home because they or their parents didn’t have enough money for food. One in four had experienced racism within the last month More than 40 per cent of youth who reported living in tents, on the street, in hotels or in shelters continued to attend school. Almost a third of females and 18 per cent of males had attempted suicide at least once during the previous year.

People with special needs must be supported *All figures except as noted from The Daily, Statistics Canada 2008
• • Some 200,000 Canadian families have a child with disabilities. Three out of five families with a child with a disability report their employment was affected by their child's condition and reported feeling stressed with balancing responsibilities of childcare, activities and work. Nearly three-quarters of parents reported that hiring extra help wasn’t an option because it was too expensive. A fifth of families using childcare reported having been refused childcare services or programs at some point, including daycare centres. Systemic and attitudinal barriers to finding work leave many adults with developmental disabilities living in poverty on income. (BCACL, 2009) Families of children and youth with special needs face lengthy waitlists for assessment, required to qualify for specific programs/services.

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Investing in our social infrastructure is an investment in the future

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The health and social assistance sector is B.C.’s second largest employer, employing more than 217,400 people. Of these an estimated 65,000 are in social services. (B.C. Stats/Stats Canada) The sector’s share of the provincial GDP is six per cent, comparable in size to the construction industry, and is expected to triple over the next five years. Nationally, the non-profit sector (minus hospitals and post-secondary institutions) generates more value-added economic activity than the accommodation and food services industry, more than twice that of agriculture, and more than three times that of the auto-making industry More than 80 per cent of the social service sector’s workforce is female, so support for the sector gives value to the work of women.

onFind the studies on-line:
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First Call http://www.campaign2000.ca/C2000ReportCardFINALNov10th08.pdf Family Violence in Canada, http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-224-x/85-224-x2005000-eng.pdf McCreary Centre, Moving Upstream http://www.mcs.bc.ca/pdf/Moving_Upstream_Websmall.pdf McCreary Centre, Building Resilience http://www.mcs.bc.ca/pdf/vulnerable_youth_report.pdf McCreary Centre, Youth Health Trends http://www.mcs.bc.ca/pdf/AHS-Trends-2005-report.pdf Reaching for the Top http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/alt_formats/hpb-dgps/pdf/child-enfant/2007-advisorconseillere/advisor-conseillere-eng.pdf

Understanding the contribution of multiple risk factors on child development, HRDC - e-mail
jodypaterson@shaw.ca for a copy of the report

BC Association for Community Living http://www.bcacl.org/social_policy_positions/index.cfm The Daily, Statistics Canada, http://www.statcan.gc.ca/start-debut-eng.html
CTV, BC’s Shame, Report on Child Poverty in BC, http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20090330/BC_Shame_Hub_090330/20090330/?hub=Brit ishColumbiaHome

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Aboriginal Peoples Survey, Statistics Canada, http://www.statcan.gc.ca/cgibin/imdb/p2SV.pl?Function=getSurvey&SDDS=3250&lang=en&db=imdb&adm=8&dis=2 Labour Market Outcomes of Persons with Disabilities in BC, http://www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca/

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Connecting with Your MLA
he important work of the social-services sector is something that all levels of government in Canada share an interest in. But social services are primarily the mandate of the provincial government. That means that potential changes to any provincial budget - particularly with expectations of cuts this fall and next spring - are a strong signal that you should be informing your MLA and other key elected officials about any issues and challenges facing your agency and clients. These are difficult times, and the province has made it clear that there will be cuts to many programs. While some cutting appears inevitable in these times of recession, it’s vital to our sector that we act now to ensure our politicians are aware of the good community work we’re doing and of the impact that a decade of “hold-the-line” funding has already had on our ability to deliver services. We elect and pay our 77 MLAs in B.C. specifically to ensure our communities’ interests are represented in decisions of government, so keep your MLA informed, now and into the future. We’ve put together an alphabetical contact listing for all B.C. MLAs, and their cabinet posts where applicable. If you’re not sure who your MLA is, find your riding in the listing first. MLAs are busy people and may need up to a month’s notice to schedule a meeting with you (particularly if they’re cabinet ministers), so you’ll want to act immediately to set up fall meetings to address any immediate issues, as well as detail the impact you’d anticipate if there is another round of cuts in the spring of 2010. Here are some tips to consider when presenting to your MLA: • Assemble key people for the meeting - the executive director, the board chair, a front-line worker, even a former client who can talk about the positive impact on his/her life of your services. Know what you want to talk about: Identify the most critical 3-4 key messages that you want to bring to your MLA’s attention. Keep presentations brief and informal - no PowerPoint! Ideally, aim for a conversation rather than a presentation, because your MLA may have ideas for you around working more effectively with the province. Clearly identify what you want your MLA to do for you. Don’t just tell them about your problems - come with ideas, strategies and efficiencies. Bring a one-page summary of your issues to leave behind. Consider a joint presentation with other agencies in your community facing similar challenges. This is both respectful of the MLA’s time and an indicator of the scope of the challenge (i.e., much bigger than one agency). Meet with all key politicians in your riding, regardless of party affiliation.

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Make a plan to meet with your MLA on an ongoing basis, at least once a year.

The following MLAs are previous members of the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth. All government committees were dissolved in April 2009 as part of the end of the legislative session, but these MLAs are still more aware of the issues and connected to the government process than other elected officials. If your MLA is on this list, consider a joint presentation from child/youth-serving agencies to raise their awareness of the particular issues facing children and youth in your community. Ron Cantelon (chair) Nicholas Simons (deputy chair) Jagrup Brar Maurine Karagianis Leonard Krog John Les Dennis MacKay Claude Richmond Val Roddick John Rustad

And these MLAs are members of Treasury Board, a committee of cabinet ministers that reviews all government spending decisions: Colin Hansen (chair) Shirley Bond (Vice chair) Stephanie Cadieux Ida Chong Blair Lekstrom Ron Cantelon Steve Thomson

One final note: The official Opposition party in B.C. is the NDP. A well-armed Opposition politician can be very effective in getting the attention of government and the media. Meet regularly with New Democrat or Independent MLAs in your area to keep them informed about your work and the challenges faced by your agency and clients. Here are some key names in the NDP caucus: Opposition: Leader of the Opposition Carole James NDP “shadow cabinet” MLAs: Karagianis, Maurine Karagianis Children and Family Development Ralston, Bruce Ralston Finance Austin, Robin Austin Education, Early Learning and Literacy Brar, Jagrup Brar Healthy Living and Sport Shane Simpson, Housing and Social Development Simpson Dix, Adrian Dix Health Farnworth, Mike Farnworth Public Safety and Solicitor General Simpson Bob Simpson, Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation

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Alphabetical listing of B.C. MLAs
NOTE: For e-mail correspondence, all e-mail addresses of MLAs follow the same format: firstname.lastname.mla@leg.bc.ca Example: George.Abbott.MLA@leg.bc.ca, Robin.Austin.MLA@leg.bc.ca, etc
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • George Abbott, Shuswap - Minister of Aboriginal Relations - 250-833-7414 Skeena Robin Austin, Skeena - NDP - 250-638-7906 SurreyHarry Bains, Surrey- Newton - NDP - 604-597-8248 PentictonBill Barisoff, Penticton-Okanagan Valley - Lib - 250-487-4400 CaribooDonna Barnett, Cariboo- Chilcotin - Lib - 250-305-3800 Patrick Bell, Prince George-Mackenzie, Forests - 250-612-4194 George- Mackenzie Bennett, Bill Bennett, East Kootenay - Community/Rural Development -250-417-6022 Dawn Black, New Westminster, NDP - 250-387-3655 Moody-Westwood, Iain Black, Port Moody- Westwood Small Business - 604-933-2312 Burquitlam, Harry Bloy, Burquitlam Lib -604-933-2077 Shirley Bond, Prince George-Mt Robson, Transportation - 250-612-4181 GeorgeRobson SurreyJagrup Brar, Surrey- Panorama Ridge - NDP - 604-501-8227 SurreyStephanie Cadieux, Surrey- Panorama, Lib - 250-952-7653 VancouverGordon Campbell, Vancouver- Point Grey - Premier - 604-660-3202 Ron Cantelon, Nanaimo Parksville - Lib -250-729-7041 Ida Chong, Oak Bay-Gordon Head - Healthy Living and Sport - 250-472-8528 BayBurnabyRaj Chouhan, Burnaby-Edmonds - NDP -604-520-2756 Murray Coell, Saanich North and the Islands, Labour - 250-655-5711 Langley-Aldergrove, Rich Coleman, Fort Langley- Aldergrove Housing and Social Development -604607-6200 KootenayKatrine Conroy, West Kootenay- Boundary - NDP -250-304-2783 Gary Coons, North Coast - NDP -250-624-7734 BurnabyKathy Corrigan, Burnaby- Deer Lake, Lib - 250-387-3655 RidgeMarc Dalton, Maple Ridge- Mission, Lib - 1 866 370-6203 AbbotsfordMike de Jong, Abbotsford- Mt Lehman - Attorney General -604-870-5486 Adrian Dix, Vancouver Kingsway - NDP - 604-660-0314 Stikine, Doug Donaldson, Stikine NDP - 250-842-2200

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Kensington, Mable Elmore, Vancouver Kensington NDP - 604-775-1033 SurreyKevin Falcon, Surrey- Cloverdale - Health Services -604-576-3792 CoquitlamMike Farnworth, Port Coquitlam- Burke Mountain - NDP -604-927-2088 Rob Fleming, Victoria-Hillside - NDP -250-360-2023 VictoriaVernon-Monashee, Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee Lib - 250-356-9574 AlberniScott Fraser, Alberni-Qualicum - NDP -250- 720-4515 Guy Gentner, Delta North - NDP - 604-597-1488 SurreySue Hammell, Surrey- Green Timbers - NDP- 604-586-2791 Colin Hansen, Vancouver Quilchena - Finance -604-664-0748 Ridge-Mission, Randy Hawes, Maple Ridge- Mission Lib -604-820-6203 Surrey-Tinehead, Dave Hayer, Surrey- Tinehead Lib -604-501-3201 VancouverKash Heed, Vancouver-Fraserview, Solicitor General - 604-775-2246 VancouverSpencer Herbert, Vancouver- Burrard - NDP -0604-660-7307 Gordon Hogg, Surrey-White Rock - Lib -604-542-3930 SurreyMalahatJohn Horgan, Malahat- Juan de Fuca - NDP -250-391-2801 CoquitlamDouglas Horne, Coquitlam- Burke Mountain, Lib - 1 800 691-9185 R ob Howard, Richmond Centre, Lib - 604 775-0754 South, Vicki Huntington, Delta South Independent - 604 940-7924 Carole James, Victoria-Beacon Hill - Leader of New Democrats -250-952-4211 VictoriaEsquimaltMaurine Karagianis, Esquimalt-Metchosin - NDP - 250-479-8326 Nanaimo Leonard Krog, Nanaimo - NDP -250-714-0630 KamloopsThompson, Kevin Krueger, Kamloops - North Thompson Tourism - 250-314-6031 VancouverJenny Kwan, Vancouver- Mt. Pleasant - NDP -604-775-0790 Terry Lake, Kamloops North Thompson, Lib - 250 356-3078 Thompson YaleHarry Lali, Yale- Lillooet - NDP -250-378-4802 Lee, North, Richard Lee, Burnaby North Lib -604-775-0778 Blair Lekstrom, Peace River South - Lib -250-784-1330 Chilliwack-Sumas, John Les, Chilliwack- Sumas Lib - 604-702-5214 Norm Letnik, Kelowna Lake Country, Lib - 250 765-8516 Country Margaret MacDiarmid, Vancouver Fairview, Education - 604 660-7061 RiverNorm Macdonald, Columbia River- Revelstoke - NDP -250-344-4816

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• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

VanJoan McIntyre, West Van- Sea to Sky, Lib - 604 981-0045 VancouverMary McNeil, Vancouver- False Creek, Lib - 250 952-7634 Don McRae, Comox Valley, Lib - 250 703-2422 Michelle Mungall, Nelson Creston, NDP - 1 877 388-4498 Creston ChilliwackBarry Penner, Chilliwack- Kent - Environment -604-858-6202 Pat Pimm, Peace River North, Lib - 250 263-0101 Langley, Mary Polak, Langley MCFD -604-514-8206 Lana Popham, Saanich South, NDP - 250 387-3655 Bruce Ralston, Surrey-Whalley - NDP -604-586-2740 SurreyEast, Linda Reid, Richmond East Minister of State, Childcare - 604-775-0891 Bill Routley, Cowichan Valley, NDP - 1 877 715-0127 CowichanDoug Routley, Cowichan- Ladysmith - NDP -250- 746-8770 GeorgeJohn Rustad, Prince George- Omineca - Lib -250-964-5650 Michael Sather, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows - NDP -604-476-9823 Maple RidgeRiverNicholas Simons, Powell River- Sunshine Coast - NDP -604-485-1249 Bob Simpson, Cariboo North - NDP - 250-991-0296 VancouverShane Simpson, Vancouver- Hastings - NDP -604-775-2277 Boundary-Similkameen, John Slater, Boundary- Similkameen Lib - 250 495-4909 Ben Stewart, Westside-Kelowna, Citizens’ Services - 250 768-8426 WestsideVancouverMoira Stilwell, Vancouver- Langara, Advanced Education - 250 356-2771 VancouverRalph Sultan, West Vancouver-Capilano - Lib - 604-981-0050 KelownaSteve Thomson, Kelowna- Mission, Agriculture - 250 712-3620 Coquitlam-Maillardville, Diane Thorne, Coquitlam- Maillardville NDP -604-933-2001 Jane Thornthwaite, North Vancouver-Seymour, Lib - 604 775-0803 Vancouver- Seymour Island, Claire Trevena, North Island NDP -250-287-5100 AbbotsfordJohn van Dongen, Abbotsford-Clayburn - 604-870-5945 Vancouver-Lonsdale, Naomi Yamamoto, North Vancouver- Lonsdale, Lib - 604 981-0033 Richmond-Steveston, John Yap, Richmond- Steveston Lib -604-241-8452

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LetterOrganizing a Letter-Writing Campaign

E

ffective communication is one of the most important tools we have when it comes to raising awareness among the public and our politicians about issues in the social-services sector.

You know so much more than the public does about the important work of the sector. A well-written letter - whether to government or to the editor of your local newspaper for publication - can go a long way toward educating community leaders, decision-makers and the public overall about the challenges, successes, disappointments and complexities the social-services sector deals with on a daily basis. B.C. is announcing a new provincial budget, and letter-writing campaigns can be an effective way of informing your community (through letters to the editor) and provincial representatives (through letters to local politicians and key people in government) about the issues that your agency or your clients are facing. Here’s a how-to for organizing a letter-writing campaign, whether through letters to the editor or directed at the provincial government: Letters to the editor All newspapers in B.C. invite readers to submit letters to the editor, on any subject. Newspapers typically receive dozens of such letters each day and will typically publish just 20 per cent of them. So you may have to be persistent to get a letter printed, and you’ll certainly want to craft a well-written and brief letter to boost your chances of getting published. To conduct a letter-writing campaign, you’ll need to tap into people you know to participate. You’ll want a wide variety of letter-writers participating: Agency staff, board members, allies in the community, clients who believe in the importance of your services, business people, and so on. Diversity demonstrates a broad base of community support. Newspapers won’t want to participate knowingly in a letter-writing campaign, so you’ll need to make sure that letters build on a single theme but are not identical or repetitive. Writers are also expected to put their name to a letter - most papers won’t publish anonymous letters. So go ahead and provide people with the necessary background to write an informed letter, but please be sure not to write the letter for them! Some tips: First, settle on a single topic for your letter. You’re much more likely to get your letter published if you keep it under the maximum word length required by the paper (generally 250-300 words), so have a key focus and avoid trying to cram in too much information. If you can keep your letter even shorter, that also increases your chances. Submit it by e-mail to whatever e-mail address is listed in your local paper for letters to the editor. Ensure your name, address and contact numbers are included in case the editor has questions. The paper won’t publish your phone number or address.

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In general, watch for issues to arise in the news that give you a timely entry point for your letter. Newspapers are most likely to be interested in your letter about the importance of quality child/youth services, for instance, in the wake of a news story highlighting a failure in the system. Think about what you want the reader to feel or do as a result of reading your letter. What actions do you hope will come out of your letter? Newspapers don’t accept third-party letters for publication, so forget the “Open Letter to Gordon Campbell” or similar approaches, because you won’t get published. Address your letter to the editor, and whenever possible, reference it to a news story, editorial, column or letter that has already appeared in the paper. If you’ve got too much to say to be able to say it in 300 words, consider writing an opinion piece if your local paper takes such submissions. Letters to government Again, shorter is better - strive for a one-page letter. Send a “real” letter rather than an e-mail - one on paper, in other words. Identify the problem you want to highlight, but also identify potential solutions. Don’t just complain - offer your ideas for resolving the issue. Be respectful and friendly, but never apologetic or overly deferential. Stay away from form letters. As with letters to the editor, it’s far more effective if 100 individuals express their individual viewpoints in separate letters than if your supporters submit 100 form letters saying the same thing or hand in a petition with 100 signatures. Target the letter to somebody specific in government who has the most direct responsibility for the issue you’re raising (Use the government directory at www.gov.bc.ca to browse for names of department directors, ADMs and DMs. ALWAYS double-check the spelling of all names and titles. Use the CC (carbon copy) method to expand the reach of your letter. Address it to a specific person but also CC it to their supervisor, the deputy minister of the relevant ministry, and the minister. You’ll mail separate copies of the letter to each of them, listing all of their names at the bottom of the letter so that they all see who you’ve included. Don’t just write letters when you’re unhappy - consider sending government a thank-you letter once in a while when they’ve been helpful or have supported/funded an important initiative. We all love hearing feedback that we’re doing a good job! You’ll most likely receive correspondence back from someone - be sure to mine it for anything relevant that might be useful in a follow-up letter later on (e.g. “Dear Minister X: You noted in your letter of Dec. 12 that your government would be addressing the issue of operational sustainability in your January caucus meeting. I’m writing for further information on the outcome of that meeting……”)

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Working with the media: Tips for a positive experience
1. Develop a relationship with the media long before you need them. Do a relationship little digging to identify the key reporters and editors in an organization that have an interest in the area you work in, and take them out for coffee to talk about story ideas, expectations, time lines and other things you’ll need to know. 2. Figure out the stories that you need to tell about your organization organization. What are your priorities for getting media attention? Which staff or clients in your organization best personify the stories you want to tell? 3. Remember that every contact with someone in the media is potentially “on the record.” Don’t talk about things that you don’t want to see in print. Unless you have a solid trust developed over time and experience with a specific reporter, don’t believe any assurances that your comments won’t be for publication. 4. Be sure you’re available when the media calls If you’re going to send out calls. a press release, have a contact number at the bottom and make sure you return any media calls promptly. You may only get one chance! 5. If the media calls first, take some time to collect your thoughts When a thoughts. call comes out of the blue, tell the media person you’re in a meeting and will call them back in 10 minutes. Spend the time collecting your thoughts and jotting down the key messages that you’ll be emphasizing, then return the call. 6. Don’t expect that media coverage will end up exactly how you wanted. The media are going to take the information you provide and pick and choose what is used. If details, specific dates for a story to run, or exact information are essential to your story, consider buying an ad, or writing your own 800-word piece for the Opinion pages. 7. Don’t sweat the small stuff If the reporter gets a few minor points wrong, stuff. write a friendly e-mail thanking them for the story and noting the errors so they’re not repeated next time. If the errors are significant enough to be worrying, ask for a correction – first from the reporter, then from the editor if you still aren’t satisfied. Writing a letter to the editor is also a good way to correct minor errors, and gives you another opportunity to reiterate your key messages.

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Media contacts – BC
Community newspapers: Find contact information for your local newspaper at the following Web site: http://www.bccommunitynews.com/files/member_papers.html Provincial media: Vancouver Sun sunnewstips@png.canwest.com dbramham@png.canwest.com (columnist Daphne Bramham) vpalmer@direct.ca (columnist Vaughn Palmer) Vancouver Province tabtips@png.canwest.com msmyth@direct.ca (columnist Mike Smyth) jthompson@png.canwest.com (columnist Joey Thompson) Victoria Times Colonist localnews@tc.canwest.com letters/opinion: letters@tc.canwest.com Globe and Mail, BC section jhunter@globeandmail.com (Justine Hunter) rmatas@globeandmail.com (Robert Matas) gmason@globeandmail.com (Gary Mason, B.C. columnist) CKNW Radio 604-331-2832 nwnews@cknw.com BCTV (Global) 7850 Enterprise Street Burnaby, BC V5A 1V7 Main number: 604-420-2288 News: globalnews.bc@globaltv.com Local programming: viewercontact.bc@globaltv.com CTV British Columbia News tips, story ideas, and press releases bcassign@ctv.ca The Tyee (online) - editor@thetyee.ca

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CBC (many shows)
All Points West allpointswest@cbc.ca BC Almanac Toll Free: 1-800-825-5950 almanac@vancouver.cbc.ca Day break North: Phone: (250) 562-6701 daybreaknorth@cbc.ca Daybreak South: Phone: (250) 861-3781 daybreaksouth@cbc.ca Early edition: Phone: (604) 662-6118 Laura_palmer@cbc.ca On the coast: Phone: (604) 662-6777, onthecoast@cbc.ca On the Island: Phone (250) 360-2227 victoria@cbc.ca

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Dec. 17, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

EXAMPLE -PRESS RELEASE

Federation urges less talk, more action on Hughes Report
The pace of meaningful change for B.C.’s most vulnerable children must speed up significantly to bring the important recommendations of the 2006 Hughes report to life, says the province’s largest coalition of child, youth and family services.

Headline clearly states the point

First paragraph goes straight into key point, identifies timeliness

The Federation of Child and Family Services works closely with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, the Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, and other ministries to bring about positive change for B.C.’s at-risk children. More than 115 community service organizations around the province belong to the federation. Federation board president Nanette Taylor welcomed Turpel-Lafond’s report this week urging immediate action on all aspects of the B.C. Child and Youth Review (dubbed the Hughes report after its author, retired justice Ted Hughes). “We echo the concerns of the Representative about whether the ministry’s current plan has the necessary focus, funding and commitment behind it to achieve the changes we all desire,” said Taylor. Details of event/issue are laid out succinctly and include at least one quote from somebody connected to issue/agency

But the province is to be applauded for establishing the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth, added Taylor, and for adopting Jordan’s Principle, a “first responder” strategy to prevent aboriginal children from falling through funding cracks created by federal and provincial jurisdictional issues. “We hope the Representative’s report will be received by government in a positive manner, because it focuses our attention on important goals,” said Jennifer Charlesworth, federation executive director. “Mary Ellen and her team have significant expertise to share. In these challenging economic times, when the vulnerabilities of children and families increase, we must make every effort to mobilize our strengths and talents to serve B.C.’s children, youth and families.”

Charlesworth notes five key concerns in Turpel-Lafond’s report: The need for external evaluation ensuring services/strategies are effective; Lack of oversight and performance measures for increasingly autonomous regions; Lack of progress on the aboriginal agenda; Three to five years lag before systems are in place improving service, decision-making The province’s decision to eliminate the position of Provincial Director of Child Welfare, which could impact quality and consistency of services to children. “Our agencies have considerable expertise and commitment to children and families. We want to join forces with everyone concerned to see ‘30’indicates end Press release does not exceed one page. If the intent of the Hughes Report fulfilled,” says of publishable info. needed, add info with a ‘backgrounder’ Charlesworth. “But we must get on with this Put contact info important work. We can’t leave B.C.’s children waiting any longer.” below that, and be sure contact is AVAILABLE for all media calls. 30 250-480Contact: Jennifer Charlesworth jenniferatfcfs@shaw.ca 250 - 480 -7387

A caring response in these economic times
Published: January 22, 2009, Peace Arch News Author: David Young, ED of Peace Arch Community Services

EXAMPLEOPINION PIECE

What a difference a year makes. Last January, Canada was enjoying a buoyant economy with strong indicators of even better prospects. The great challenge faced by governments at all levels was how to deal with the growing surplus. Debates about tax cuts, spending priorities, tax sharing and equalization payments took place, as we sought to take greatest advantage of our hard-earned prosperity. All of this occurred within a context in which child poverty reached its highest level ever in Canada; in which affordable housing remained a dream for many; in which people with disabilities struggled to obtain support; in which many continued to live in Third World conditions. Today it is clear Canada, like the rest of this planet, will be impacted by the downturn. What is not clear is how deep the impact will be, nor for how long. There is now common understanding our federal government – and perhaps our provincial government – will introduce a deficit budget. This is generally accepted as a positive step that fulfills government’s role to mitigate the impact and stimulate economic growth. However, there remains debate over how government can best intervene. Interestingly, the discourse is focused much on the same issues at the forefront during better times: tax cuts; spending priorities; tax sharing and equalization payments. Our context hasn’t changed – child poverty, homelessness and disability remain. As a nation, we were unable to address these and other social issues during positive economic times. It is now just as important these challenges are in a debate that is largely focused on tax cuts, infrastructure spending and industry bailouts. Canada needs a strategy that not only protects and creates jobs, but also protects and builds community. First, build social infrastructure that addresses long-standing community issues. We are a compassionate and caring society. Any budgets should include proposals for development of social infrastructure. During a downturn, public projects have a degree of greater affordability. Spending on housing, homeless shelters and addiction-treatment centres need to be considered, alongside roads, bridges and port facilities. Second, expand programs that mitigate the social impacts of an economic downturn.

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It is clear we must address adjustments to the employment-insurance program, as well as spending on job retraining and education. At the same time, we must spend on relationship, addiction and debt-counselling programs. As well, increased unemployment tends to have affect on the marginally employed – such as people with disabilities or the working poor. This, in turn, will put more pressure on social programs designed to support them. This is a time for increased social spending, not reductions. The non-profit sector in B.C. contributes $6 billion to the economy. It is a key economic driver and employer. Increased spending will have both a social and economic impact. Third, promote opportunities to provide comfort and support to others. We must consider how we can respond to friends, neighbours and relatives experiencing job loss or business failure. These events can result in isolation, fractured relationships, loss of self-esteem, discouragement and depression. We need to be aware of the challenges faced, plan for and create space in our busy lives to offer support. Community leaders need to convene opportunities to create peer support and neighbourhood building activities. An economic strategy focused on job creation and protection, coupled with social strategy, will better respond to the range of impacts that are being felt. And, at the same time, it will build a stronger Canada for the future.

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EXAMPLE LETTER TO GOVERNMENT
Honourable Gordon Campbell, PO Box 9041 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria, B.C. Dear Premier,

February 13, 2009 Federation of Child and Family Services nd 2 Floor 526 Michigan St. Victoria, B.C. V8V 1S2

State key point of the These are treacherous times for British Columbians, and for a letter right at outset government grappling with unprecedented economic turmoil. The Federation of Child and Family Services would like to work with you in creating jobs and stabilizing B.C. families through investments in our province’s social infrastructure. Like you, our members are very concerned about the state of the economy, and the impact the downturn will have on our communities and the thousands of people we serve each year. We are already hearing stories from agencies of children being left at the door of emergency youth shelters because their parents have lost their jobs and accommodations. Include stats and anecdotes to bring point home

Our organization represents more than 100 of B.C.’s community-based social services agencies, delivering services to children and families in need, employment support, help for seniors and people with disabilities, and many other critically important services. We believe community-based social services can be not only a generator of jobs during this period and a vital support for British Columbians during the economic downturn, but is well-placed to lead small capital projects that will benefit the province’s social Clearly state your plan infrastructure now and into the future. and say exactly what you The community social services sector can quickly mobilize human resources to provide British Columbians with the support they’ll need to weather these difficult times. Our volunteer boards include some of the best and brightest minds in B.C., giving us the capability to coordinate the development, construction and management of new facilities in our communities - housing for the hardest-to-house; community centres; childcare facilities. intend to do. Think about things from the point of view of government, and use their language and concerns to make your case.

We can develop training programs quickly through our working partnership with B.C. postsecondary institutions, and find people jobs. Our sector has the potential to provide large numbers of low-cost, entry level jobs that prepare people for more skilled work. Meanwhile, the community work we do will support people in getting back on their feet - and staying there. As you know, a strong social services sector delivers substantial downstream savings for government. Keeping a child out of the care of the state saves thousands of dollars each year, and tens of thousands more in related social costs. Catching a troubled youth before she or he falls costs a fraction of what gets spent over a potential lifetime of poor health, addiction, criminal activity and domestic problems.

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The Liberals under your leadership have rightly placed a high value on health and education. Neither can be successful in the absence of social health, however. A school breakfast program, counselling for an abused child, a service that brokers residential care for senior citizens and frees up acute-care Give praise where praise is beds along the way - whatever the example, social services due. Pay attention to issues are clearly essential aspects of any successful health and of concern to government, education strategy. and build your case around them. The Federation was a participant in the British Columbia Economic Summit, and listened with interest to the presentations. We urge you to continue to provide powerful and progressive leadership for economic recovery by embracing ‘triple bottom line’ strategies in B.C.’s recovery plans and infrastructure spending. Your administration has already shown leadership on two of the triple-bottom-line elements: Strong business thinking and green strategies. We ask you to lead again by putting increased focus on social health as the third aspect of visionary planning. We have the tools to help you invest in our province’s social infrastructure, and sufficient feet on the ground to make things happen quickly. We understand the social economy, and have an extensive community network. Our agencies are poised to be agents of change at the community level. Premier, we believe that investing in B.C.’s community social service sector is sound business practice. Please work with our volunteer governors and dedicated staff in caring for the people of British Columbia. We would very much appreciate to Make a specific “ask” opportunity to discuss these issues in more depth with you and what do you want to ask that you contact Federation executive director Dr. Jennifer happen as a result of this Charlesworth to set up a meeting time for further discussion. letter? Sincerely,

Nanette Taylor President, Federation of Child and Family Services c.c. Hon. Tom Christensen Hon. Rich Coleman Hon. Shirley Bond Hon. George Abbott Hon. Linda Reid Hon. Colin Hansen

Promoting Excellence in Child and Family Services since 1982
526 Michigan St., Victoria, BC V8V 1S2 480480 80Telephone: (250) 480-7387 Fax: (250) 480-7396 E-Mail fcfs@shaw.ca

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EXAMPLELETTER TO GOVERNMENT

Hon. Tom Christensen British Columbia Legislature Victoria, B.C. February 06, 2009 Dear Honourable Minister Christensen, RE: BOARD VOICE of the Communitybased Social Services Sector
Clear statement of We are writing to introduce ourselves to you and to purpose at outset seek a meeting with you in the near future to tell you more about who we are and how we hope to contribute to excellence in the delivery of social services in this province. Sent to the person you have determined most needs to see it

The undersigned represent an emerging organization from across British Columbia, currently called “Board Voice”. We are volunteers representing agency boards from across the spectrum of social services and we are in the process of creating an avenue for volunteer governors to champion the Quick and clear importance of social services in this province. We will be summary of the using our ‘voice’ to speak with governments, the general issue at hand in 2-3 public and employees about directions and issues of paragraphs at the concern to this sector. most Our vision is straightforward: A clear and effective voice effective for volunteer community-based boards supporting high-quality social community highservices and strong, vibrant communities. We believe the important work that our agencies provide across the province doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. While crucial to the well being of B.C residents and communities and to the outcomes for both the health and education sectors, much of its work flies ‘under the radar’. From child care to youth justice, early intervention to adult developmental services, family support to child and youth mental health, food banks to housing services and much more, the threads of support woven through our communities are a fundamental strength of towns and cities across the province.

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Your advice is important to us as we begin to build this Acknowledgment of challenges or organization, because we believe it important to develop a problems relevant to mature relationship with government, capable of effectively issue from recipient’s bringing the community voice to your attention. We ask you point of view to consider the added value of having community members involved in governing these services and the implications for responsible governance as our agencies are pressed to deal with increased demand for supports from children, youth and families and corresponding workload pressures, a result of the economic downturn. Although we recognize that you will soon be leaving the government and your role as Minister of Community and Social Services, we would value your advice now, perhaps more than ever. You have a well-earned reputation for responsive leadership and we would be honoured to have Close on optimistic note. Tone of the opportunity to access your wisdom prior to letter overall is pleasant and respectful your departure. We look forward to discussing areas of mutual interest and concern to the Ministry and our member agencies. Representatives of Board Voice would be able to meet with you on February 20th, either before or after your presentation at the General Meeting of the Federation of Child and Family Services or at some other time of your choosing. Please contact Anthony Ostler at: 604 643 7647 or by email at: anthony_ostler@canaccord.com to arrange a time at your earliest convenience. We look forward to speaking with you. Respectfully, On behalf of the Leadership Group Anthony Ostler: Board President – Family Services of Greater Vancouver Gord Adams: Chair – North Okanagan Youth & Family Services Society Caroline Moore: Board member - Child and Family Counselling Association of Greater Victoria Dave Stigant: Chair – Penticton & District Community Resources Society Paul Barnett: Chair – Provincial Association of Residential and Community Agencies Carol Matusicky: Board member – Burnaby Family Life Fred Taylor: Chair – Sunshine Coast Community Services Dave Duncan: Chair – PLEA Community Services Society John Neilson: Chair – Developmental Disabilities Association

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