July 16, 2015: MCFD Continues to Endanger Our Children

 Download this press release

For Immediate Release

    July 16, 2015                 

 

MCFD Continues to Endanger Our Children

We Need Change now!

How many children have to be damaged or die before the BC government admits that the Ministry of Children and Family Development is irretrievably broken? Once again dangerous practices within the Ministry are being brought to light. And once again, the Ministry is failing to act. Children in British Columbia continue to be placed at risk by the very Ministry legally responsible for their safety.  When are we as adults going to stand up and demand an end to the Ministry’s reckless disregard of the obligation they hold on behalf of citizens of this province to protect our children?

In a blistering judgement from the BC Supreme Court, Judge Paul Walker has concluded that the Director of Child Protection and certain Ministry social workers “acted well outside of their statutory mandate and the duty to protect children”, citing “intentional misconduct, bad faith, reckless disregard for their obligation to protect children, breach of the applicable standard of care to unreasonably supporting the custodial interests of the children’s father even if it meant he sexually abused them.”  

In devastating detail, Judge Walker delineates actions which separated four children from their devoted and determined mother while trying to place them in the permanent care of a sexually abusive father. The mother’s reports of the abuse went uninvestigated while she was officially labelled as mentally unstable. The Director, Supervisor, and social workers omitted and misrepresented facts in a report to Provincial Court. Sexual abuse of the children continued when Ministry staff allowed the father unsupervised access to the children, defying a court order forbidding private access. 

For the past three years, residents and advocates from our community have been pressuring these same bureaucrats and professionals to respond to the needs of local children equally at risk. Their heartbreaking circumstances have been documented and brought to the attention of the Ministry and service providers directly and through the press – youth regularly ending up in emergency wards, some near death — victims of rape, alcohol and drug abuse. A number have considered or even tried suicide; some have succeeded.

We have pleaded with the Ministry to change the policies and practices which are seriously compromising the safety, well-being, and lives of these youth.

Continue reading

May 1, 2014: The Children of Forgotten Promises

Download this press release

 

The Children of Forgotten Promises

For Immediate Release: May 1, 2014

In response to the BC Representative for Children & Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s report, “On Their Own”, April 2014, Aboriginal Life In Vancouver Enhancement Society’s president, Ernie Crey, has praised the report as practical and says the report’s recommendations, if adopted, would help restore dignity and choice is supporting B.C.’s most vulnerable youth.”Making a healthy transition into adulthood, from government care, especially for urban Aboriginal youth here in this province’s largest city is something we should all get behind”. “The creation of a Youth Secretariat is long overdue and would help to align youth funding for better outcomes. And being accountable back to youth by using reliable research and measurements for success will benefit all British Columbians, as we support youth in government care”. And Crey believes we all have a responsibility to assist youth with housing, and encourage healthy relationships, educational plans, life skills, enhanced identity, and emotional well-being. He says that actively engaging youth in developing their own plans to independence is essential.

Continue reading

Aug 4, 2015: MCFD Sidesteps Accountability We Need Action Now!

 Download this press release

 For Immediate Release                                                       

August 4, 2015

MCFD Sidesteps Accountability

  We Need Action Now!

Approximately two weeks after Judge Paul Walker issued a blistering judgement citing the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s Director of Child Protection and certain Ministry social workers for “intentional misconduct, bad faith, reckless disregard for their obligation to protect children, breach of the applicable standard of care” — and three years after Judge Walker issued an initial judgement in this case — the MCFD Minister, Stephanie Cadiuex, has decided that an investigation is in order.

Ignoring the fact that the province already employs a fully independent, appropriately mandated investigator: BC’s Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, the Minister has decided to bring back retired bureaucrat Bob Plecas to lead what can only be called a half-hearted attempt to divert attention from their culpability and placate the political firestorm that has arisen from the publication of Judge Walker’s July 14th 2015 judgement.

Revictimizing the Victim

Vancouver Sun reporter Ian Mulgrew has now made public the fact that the Ministry is continuing to harass the family exonerated by Judge Walker – once again interviewing the children and seeking home visits. No Ministry support has been offered to the family and they have been forced in recent months to rely on food banks.

Continue reading

Responsible Indigenous Strategy for Empowerment

 

 

 

 

 

 

R.I.S.E (Responsible Indigenous Strategy for Empowerment) evolved out of ALIVE’s Gen 7 Aboriginal Youth Role Model Program, and is currently delivered in 5 local Community Centres as a partnership between ALIVE, the Vancouver Parks Board and the MoreSport YELL Program.

Leaders are selected based on their demonstrated community leadership, background in arts/culture/recreation and experience working with youth. RISE is one piece of ALIVE’s Reconciliation in Action Strategy.

Each RISE leader is employed as a paid staff through the Vancouver Parks Board. These are well-paying jobs at union rates that can greatly assist participating leaders to support their continuing education in addition to facilitating connections to employers, and building their familiarity with mainstream systems, employee responsibilities, protocols, and practices.

What do RISE leaders do?

RISE leaders work as a team to identify and support other Aboriginal community members and excluded groups to become connected to neighbourhood opportunities and be actively involved in all aspects of city life. They receive support from the RISE coordinator and community centre staff in the implementation of strategic activities in the assigned pilot sites that provide opportunities for intercultural sharing and learning and engage and encourage more extensive and reflective participation.

Each RISE leader brings their own unique strengths, knowledge and experience and the focus of their engagement in the community reflects their individual background and interests. RISE leaders are supported by their supervisor and the RISE coordinator to network and build connections with their community’s youth, and other local area partners and to find areas of interest for community/program development that draw on and enhance their capacities as leaders . RISE leaders run different types of programs in the community including arts & culture, recreation/sports, youth citizenship/leadership or a combination.

Some of the work of RISE includes community consultation, facilitating learning and sharing circles, asset-mapping and other outreach and engagement activities to help centres understand and respond to community-identified priorities.

The 5 Parks Board community centres currently participating in the RISE Program are:

Ray-Cam Community Centre, Britannia Community Centre, Mount Pleasant Community Centre, Hastings Community Centre and Strathcona Community Centre.

Training and Mentorship
Each leader receives on-site mentorship from community centre supervisor(s) as well as weekly check-ins with the RISE coordinator.

RISE leaders also receive regular paid training throughout their placement that is relevant to the work they are doing. This includes:

Group management, supervision, facilitation, physical literacy, asset-mapping/social policy, cultural workshops, program creation, etc…

Why RISE?

Aboriginal people are not well-represented in mainstream neighbourhood spaces. Community centres are tax-payer funded municipal institutions with both the resources and the mandate to support/facilitate the process of neighbourhood-level reconciliation. Aboriginal youth are the fastest growing population and have great potential to support reconciliation efforts by pointing the way to the future in their urban communities. In leadership and in staff roles RISE leaders are in a position to influence other centre staff, as well as the focus of centre programming.

We hope this initiative will create a better understanding of the social, economic and cultural assets to be found in the urban Aboriginal community and the importance of involving Aboriginal youth, elders and families in community decisions and opportunities.

 We expect that more Community Centres will sign up to be a part of this initiative, supporting ALIVE to scale out the “reconciliation in action” strategy across Vancouver, neighbourhood by neighbourhood.

 Check out the current RISE team and what they’ve been up to.

If you’re interested in becoming a RISE leader or just want to know more about RISE, send an email to info@alivesociety.ca or call 604.257.6949

 

template4

RISE Leader Bios

Joleen

A little bit about me- Born and bred in East Vancouver and am very proud of my Cree, Blackfoot French and Scottish heritage. I have 15 years experience in the modeling industry and am privileged to have traveled around the world practicing my profession.

Now residing back in Vancouver where I’m dedicated to working with the Aboriginal community through RISE by connecting through art, fashion, sport and understanding.

Joleen’s Website

More to Come!!

ourplace

Our Place Graduation Strategy Launch

On March 4, 2015  a public celebration took place at Ray-Cam Community Centre, marking the formal kick-off of the Graduation Strategy. The event enabled key partners to meet the community and the general public, answer questions, and build overall community momentum to create a neighbourhood where children can thrive. Following the Public Forum, the Community was invited to attend a special performance of “Mistatim”, a Red Sky Production, at the Russian Hall.

Our Place is a collaboration of community organizations, residents,  First Nations, and local businesses, including ALIVE.   Based at Ray-Cam Community Centre,  our comprehensive approach starts with pre-natal care and healthy babies, through to early learning opportunities at local child care centres, and on to youth and family supports through the middle years to secondary school graduation. The Graduation Strategy establishes a holistic approach, working with parents to establish a culture of success in the inner-city.  “Peer support for families is an important element of our comprehensive approach” says Marilyn McKee, president of the Ray-Cam Community Cooperative Association

Check out CBC’s  Coverage of the Graduation Strategy Launch:

CBC’s March 4th Edition of On the Coast featuring an Interview with Scott Clark on the Graduation Strategy 

 

Article: Vancouver Downtown Eastside high school graduation rates under scrutinyCommunity and government organizations joining together to raise graduation rates

Afterwards community members headed to the Russian Hall for dinner and a performance of, Mistatim, a production of Red Sky indigenous theatre, music and dance Company from Toronto 

**Thank you to Dima Alansari for the Photos

 

hcjoininghands-720x380

Exciting News for Gen 7!

ALIVE’s Gen 7 team has been enjoying a little early holiday cheer! A proposal submitted by ALIVE youths to the United Nations on behalf of the Gen 7 Aboriginal youth leadership program was approved and supported by a United Nations committee.
 
We are very excited to add the United Nations to our team of supporters which includes the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Park Board, Motivate Canada, Our Place, FNES, and 8 Vancouver Community Centres (Ray Cam, Hastings, Strathcona, Britannia,Trout Lake, Dunbar, Roundhouse,and Mount Pleasant). In addition, we have Ryerson, Queens, and Nippising University working with us on a special national research project concerning Urban Aboriginal engagement in 5 Park Board community centres.
 
hcjoininghands-150x150

Salish Sea Civilization Recognized in Georgia Straight’s Best of Vancouver 2013 Series

Above image: First Nations Settlements on the Salish Sea (in yellow) circa. 1792

The Salish Sea Civilization, a plan to celebrate First Nations history and demonstrate the rich cultures that flourished pre-colonization in what is now Vancouver, has recently been recognized by the Georgia Straight as a “Best of Vancouver” idea for city life.

ALIVE has continued to support the Salish Sea Civilization as a project that would celebrate and educate the public about the complex and diverse histories of the first nations peoples that have made Vancouver their home for some 10,000 years, and continue to do so today.

Find previous coverage on this project here and here.