Open letter from First Call BC highlights ongoing child poverty issues in BC

The Georgia Straight has published an open letter from First Call BC to BC Premiere Christy Clark and BC Minister for Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux. The letter responds to several aspects of the BC government’s response to the 2014 child poverty report card First Call BC released in December last year.

The letter highlights how child poverty continues to be a pressing issue in British Columbia, with roughly 1 in 5 children living in poverty in the province and 1 in 2 children from single parent families living in poverty. While it acknowledges that the BC government’s focus on job creation and targeted supports may play a valid role in addressing child poverty, the letter questions whether enough is being done in practice to fix the problem, noting that British Columbia continues to be one of the only provinces without a poverty reduction strategy. The letter concludes “through the recommendations in our Report Card, we ask government again to look to the areas of policy in your control and take bold and significant action to invest in evidence-based policy reforms and services that are known to reduce child and family poverty levels. We realize policy changes and larger investments need to be planned with care and implementation must be staged over time. We are asking you to listen to the growing chorus of stories of hardship resulting from the status quo, heed the negative trends showing up in health and early childhood vulnerability rates and move from denial to a focused action plan. There is tremendous public support for tackling this issue. We look forward to working with you to make BC a leader in reducing child and family poverty.”