Press releases

The latest organizational news. If you would like more information, please contact Andrea Driedger at adriedger@bcadoption.com or 604-320-7330 ext 108. 

April 26, 2017: North and Central Island families celebrate adoption
March 31, 2017: Public Guardian and Trustee partners with Adoptive Families Association of BC to create a youth friendly financial literacy learning tool
March 31, 2017: More than $2 million to keep young adults from care connected
March 8, 2017: Kamloops families celebrate adoption
November 9, 2016: New adoption workshop coming to Vancouver Island
October 18, 2016: AgedOut.com finalist for BC Premier's Innovation Award
October 17, 2016: AYA does more!
August 17, 2016: New Adoption Support Coordinators
June 22, 2016: Adoption community recognized at celebration event
June 3, 2016: Documentary captures the experience of growing up in foster care

North and Central Island families celebrate adoption

The Adoptive Families Association of BC turns 40!

Island families cut the cake!Quadra Island—April 25, 2017—Families across northern and central Vancouver Island took part in an exciting event April 21 to 23 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC).

27 children and parents joined AFABC at Camp Homewood on Quadra Island for a weekend of fun that featured archery, an obstacle course, pony rides, and a ceremonial cutting of the cake to celebrate 40 years of family.

In 1977, a small group of parents came together around a kitchen table to share ideas, information, and resources about adoption. Back then, adoption was a subject that was "kept quiet," and these parents needed to connect, share their personal stories, and acknowledge that though adoption had its challenges, it was worth it! They knew that other parents also needed the resources and support they had desperately needed. That small group of parents came together to form the Adoptive Families Association of BC.

“Adoption has changed over the last forty years,” says Karen Madeiros, AFABC’s executive director. “Adoption helps to create new social and cultural norms, and continues to find permanent homes for BC’s most vulnerable kids.”

What hasn't changed, is that families still connect with each other for information, support, and resources. And AFABC is still here, 40 years later, to help.

Learn more

About the Adoptive Families Association of BC
Since 1977, AFABC has been dedicated to finding families for children and youth and also to providing groundbreaking programs that support the entire adoption community. The Adopt BC Kids Information Line, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, the Speak-Out Youth Group, AgedOut.com, Focus on Adoption magazine—all are designed to raise adoption awareness, support children and youth who are waiting for families, and to help families get ready and stay steady throughout their adoption journey.

Contact
Andrea Driedger
AFABC Communications Coordinator
adriedger@bcadoption.com | 604-320-7330 ext 108

Public Guardian and Trustee partners with Adoptive Families Association of BC to create a youth friendly financial literacy learning tool

March 31, 2017 -- Vancouver -- Committed to improving the financial literacy of youth in and transitioning out of care, the Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT) has partnered with the Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC) to create the Money Sense Quest, an online financial literacy tool that provides knowledge and skills that will assist learners in making responsible financial decisions.

The Money Sense Quest lives on the youth transition website AgedOut.com, and focuses on improving money management, with interactive activities addressing concepts such as values, money goals, the tracking of spending and the importance of budgeting. Each quest activity is built around the story of two youth who are dealing with money issues. Learners guide the characters through each activity, making choices and solving puzzles on their behalf.

The Money Sense Quest is the result of a unique partnership that saw AFABC develop the quest with input from youth and by using PGT financial literacy materials. The PGT also provided input, leveraging staff experiences and knowledge, on how to best develop a financial literacy learning tool using a youth friendly approach.

"We are very excited to have contributed to a valuable resource that will help teach youth and young adults important lessons around financial literacy," said Catherine Romanko, Public Guardian and Trustee. "The PGT has an important role in supporting children and youth in continuing care by acting as their property guardian and one of our main objectives is to build the potential for children in care to have positive future lives. Through this collaborative effort with the Adoptive Families Association of BC and by incorporating feedback from youth, we continue to make major strides in providing access to financial resources that can be used to help support them as they move on to adult life."

In addition to its collaboration with the AFABC in developing the Money Sense Quest, the PGT, through its Child and Youth Services division, also offers financial literacy training and resource materials to youth at risk. The PGT delivers financial literacy workshops to external stakeholders and partners and offers resources including its Dollars and Sense - A Guide for your Money and Dollars and Sense Workbook publications, available at www.trustee.bc.ca. The Child and Youth Services division can be reached by email at cys@trustee.bc.ca.

About the Public Guardian and Trustee
The Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT) is a corporation sole established under the Public Guardian and Trustee Act with a unique statutory role to protect the interests of British Columbians who lack legal capacity to protect their own interests. The mandate of the PGT is to:

  • Protect the legal and financial interests of children under the age of 19 years;
  • Protect the legal, financial, personal and health care interests of adults who require assistance in decision making; and
  • Administer the estates of deceased and missing persons.

For more information see the PGT website at www.trustee.bc.ca.

Media contacts

Pieter Uni
Communications Officer
Public Guardian and Trustee
604.660.4474

Andrea Driedger
Communications Coordinator
Adoptive Families Association of BC
604-320-7330 ext 108
adriedger@bcadoption.com

More than $2 million to keep young adults from care connected

March 31, 2017 -- Vancouver -- Making sure young adults leaving government care have the tools to be successful is the focus of a series of innovative provincial partnerships with TELUS, IBM, the Adoptive Families Association of BC and the Public Guardian and Trustee.

Starting as a pilot this spring, smart phones will be made available to up to 1,000 current and former youth in care thanks to a $2-million fund jointly administered by the Province and TELUS. First priority will go to young people who are enrolled in school or training through the Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) program.

The Moto G smart phones will include monthly phone and data plan credits for up to two years. TELUS is providing the phones, which will have unlimited nationwide talk and text, and up to 3GB of monthly data usage. TELUS will also develop a cell phone app to advise youth about Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) and government programs and relevant information. TELUS has heavily subsidized the monthly phone package with government covering the remaining costs. The phone package will be registered in the youth’s name to help them develop a positive credit rating and encourage responsible cell phone use.

Youth leaving care who are attending post-secondary training will also be eligible to receive a new Lenovo laptop computer thanks to a partnership between IBM, MCFD and the Ministry of Technology, Inovation and Citizens’ Services. Under the $150,000 provincial funding agreement, 369 young adults will receive a laptop this spring, including 19 and 20-year-olds with an AYA agreement who are pursuing post-secondary studies. IBM will provide laptop support services.

To ensure youth receiving laptops are able to take advantage of home Internet service, TELUS has extended them its Internet for Good program, offering high-speed Internet for $9.95 per month.

As a further step to keep young adults from care informed and connected, AgedOut.com  features two new e-learning modules – ‘Money Sense’ and ‘Healthy Eating on a Budget’ – to promote nutrition and financial management. The new modules were developed in partnership with the Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC) and the Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT) with input from former youth in care.

Government’s goal is to ensure that young people leaving care have the appropriate supports in place as they move into adulthood. There is a cross-government and corporate effort to create new programs and improve existing ones for this unique and vulnerable group who often lack traditional family support. With these new investments B.C. further solidifies its leadership position among the provinces in the types of programs and services offered to young people leaving care.

Quotes:

Stephanie Cadieux, Minister for Children and Family Development –

“Just like any parent, MCFD hopes youth leaving care will go on to post-secondary education or jobs training. To support that goal in this technology-based era, our young people need the right tools to help them stay informed and connected. Kids in our care often lack traditional family support, so making cell phones and laptops available to them free of charge and tailoring online resources specifically to their needs is one step we’re taking with community partners to help bridge that gap and give them the best chance of success as they move into adulthood.”

Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services –

“Providing these young people with the technology and resources to stay connected is important, especially at this transitional age. This program will open up opportunities for accessing job information, post-secondary educational opportunities and training and to help maintain important connections with friends and family.”

Darren Entwistle, TELUS president and CEO –

“At TELUS, we embrace our passionate social purpose to give where we live by empowering youth to help them reach their full potential. The TELUS Mobility for Good programme is one way we can help. By offering vulnerable young people a reliable way to connect with social workers, prospective employers and medical professionals, as well as access to innovative educational mobile apps and websites, TELUS Mobility for Good will help youth gain their independence while staying connected to the people, information and opportunities that matter most in our increasingly digital society.”

John Longbottom, IBM Canada’s executive for the public sector in British Columbia –

“IBM is proud of its longstanding partnership with the B.C. government which enables us to participate in critical programs like the one we are supporting today. IBM is committed to investing in technology and education in many ways including helping today’s youth prepare for the jobs of tomorrow. We recognize that for those leaving care it can be a very stressful time. By equipping these young adults with tools to support their future success, we hope to help ease the transition to post-secondary education.”

Quick Facts:

  • MCFD has invested $700,000 to support AgedOut.com, an online resource that offers support to youth in care with their transition to adulthood.
  • Under the Agreements with Young Adult program (AYA), youth who leave government care at 19 years of age are eligible for supports to cover living expenses while they finish high school, attend post-secondary training or complete a rehabilitation program. AYA was recently expanded from two to four years and to include life skills training and cover youth up to the age of 26 years. More than 2,500 young adults have benefited from AYA since the program was established in 2008.
  • TELUS Internet for Good is a pilot program that launched in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation last October. The program offers high-speed Internet for $9.95 per month to single-parent families receiving income or disability assistance from the Province. Now, youth participating in the AYA program also will have access to the subsidized Internet service.
  • ICBC recently announced $50,000 in funding to the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks for bursaries to support driver training for young people in and from government care.
  • MCFD is providing another $250,000 in annual funding for the Learning Fund for Young Adults (LFYA), an education fund for former children and youth in care.
  • MCFD is giving a further $61,000 to support the YWCA’s Strive program, a program that helps youth leaving care hone life skills.
  • MCFD also supports the Youth Educational Assistance Fund (YEAF) , which provides post-secondary education and training bursaries of up to $5,500 per education year to help former youth in care with tuition, books and fees.
  • Eleven B.C. post-secondary institutions now also offer tuition waivers or bursaries to former youth in care.

Learn More:

Agreements with Young Adults: http://ow.ly/QDUo30a59zA

Adoptive Families Association of BC: www.bcadoption.com

Youth Education Assistance Fund: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/yeaf/index.htm

Youth Futures Education Fund: www.vancouverfoundation.ca/YouthFutures

Strive: http://ow.ly/OLyH30a59PZ

Agedout.com: www.gov.bc.ca/agedout

Internet for Good: https://community.telus.com/how-we-give/cause-campaigns/internet-for-good/

Kamloops families celebrate adoption: Adoptive Families Association of BC turns 40!

Kamloops—March 8, 2017—Families in Kamloops took part in an exciting kick-off event on March 4 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC).

82 children and parents joined AFABC, Insight Support Services, and the Ministry of Children and Family Development for this fun event that featured a bouncy castle, face painting, a magician, and a ceremonial cutting of the cake to celebrate 40 years of family.

In 1977, a small group of parents came together around a kitchen table to share ideas, information, and resources about adoption. Back then, adoption was a subject that was "kept quiet," and these parents needed to connect, share their personal stories, and acknowledge that though adoption had its challenges, it was worth it! They knew that other parents also needed the resources and support they had desperately needed. That small group of parents came together to form the Adoptive Families Association of BC.

“Adoption has changed over the last forty years,” says Karen Madeiros, AFABC’s executive director. “Adoption helps to create new social and cultural norms, and continues to find permanent homes for BC’s most vulnerable kids.”

What hasn't changed, is that families still connect with each other for information, support, and resources. And AFABC is still here, 40 years later, to help.

Learn more
View photos of the Kamloops 40th anniversary celebration: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/6kq94z3kue6541r/AADHxOHSVh0f0WzK0_UJjHELa?dl=0

To learn more about AFABC’s 40th anniversary and to see a calendar of celebration events: www.bcadoption.com/40years

About the Adoptive Families Association of BC
Since 1977, AFABC has been dedicated to finding families for children and youth and also to providing groundbreaking programs that support the entire adoption community. The Adopt BC Kids Information Line, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, the Speak-Out Youth Group, AgedOut.com, Focus on Adoption magazine—all are designed to raise adoption awareness, support children and youth who are waiting for families, and to help families get ready and stay steady throughout their adoption journey.

Contact
Andrea Driedger
AFABC Communications Coordinator
adriedger@bcadoption.com | 604-320-7330 ext 108

New adoption workshop coming to Vancouver Island

VICTORIA – November 9, 2016 – The Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC) is pleased to announce a new adoption workshop for parents on Vancouver Island.

“Thriving and Surviving the First Two Years” workshop is coming to Victoria on Tuesday, November 15 and to Nanaimo on Wednesday, November 16. This innovative interactive workshop prepares adoptive parents as they navigate the critical first two years after an adoption placement.

“As we all know, kids don’t come with an instruction manual. When you adopt a child, they might be coming from a different background or culture, they might have special placement needs or openness considerations,” says Angie McMullen, the AFABC Adoption Key Worker for Vancouver Island. “We want to empower parents with the skill they need to make strong connections with their kids.”

Parents will leave the workshop with a toolkit of hands-on strategies that will ensure they are prepared with realistic expectation, knowledge, and specific skills to navigate their first years as a new adoptive parent.

Victoria – Tuesday, November 15 from 9am to 3pm
Pearkes Recreation Centre, 3100 Tillicum Road, Victoria

Nanaimo – Wednesday, November 16 from 9am to 3pm
Ministry of Children and Family Development Office, 6651 Aulds Road, Nanaimo

Parents can register for these workshops online at www.bcadoption.com/fall-education

AFABC thanks the Victoria Foundation and the Ministry of Children and Family Development for help reducing cost for participants.

Families are encouraged to get in touch with Angie McMullen at amcmullen@bcadoption.com or 778-789-5183 about the adoption program services they’d like to see in their area.

Since 1977, AFABC has been dedicated to finding faqmilies for children and also to providing groundbreaking programs that support the entire adoption community. The Waiting Child Toll Free Line, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, the Speak-Out Youth Zone, Focus on Adoption magazine—all are designed to raise adoption awareness, raise funds to support adoption, support children and youth who are waiting for families, and to help families get ready and stay steady throughout their adoption journey.

Learn more
For more information about AFABC’s adoption education programs, please visit: www.bcadoption.com/education

Contact
Andrea Driedger
AFABC Communications Coordinator
adriedger@bcadoption.com
604-320-7330 ext 108

AgedOut.com finalist for BC Premier's Innovation Award

October 18, 2016 -- The Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC) is pleased to announce that AgedOut.com was shortlisted for a Premier’s Award in the field of Innovation. The Premier’s Award serves to recognize BC public service employees and teams whose contributions have made a positive difference in the province.

AgedOut.com is an interactive website that provides young people with valuable skills as they transition out of care and into adulthood. Launched in June 2015, AgedOut.com was developed by AFABC in partnership with the Ministry of Children and Family Development and Agentic Digital Media with input from former youth in care all over British Columbia.

To date over 900 users have signed up for the site, with over 1/3 of those being youth in or from government care.

The Premier’s Innovation and Excellence Awards were presented Tuesday, October 18 in Victoria.

More information

Contact

Andrea Driedger
AFABC Communications Coordinator
604-320-7330 ext 108
adriedger@bcadoption.com

AYA does more!

October 17, 2016 -- Changes are coming to Agreements for Young Adults (AYA), a program that provides financial support to youth from government care. The Ministry of Children and Family Development announced Monday afternoon that the program will be expanding to better help the transition for youth aging out of care.

Changes to AYA include:

  1. Doubling the amount of time youth can receive AYA supports – from 24 months to 48 months.
  2. Increasing the eligible age of enrolment in AYA by two years – from up to the young adult’s 24th birthday to up to their 26th birthday.
  3. Adding Life Skills programs to the list of programs eligible for AYA support.

The Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC) and AgedOut.com support any additional resources for youth aging out that helps them transition into adulthood. We’re particularly excited about the addition of another 24 months because it allows young people to be supported through a 4-year degree program. It’s now very difficult to get a job without a university degree or post-secondary education.

Youth engagement was at the centre of our work on AgedOut.com. We’re proud that it was built with the input of so many former youth in care and we encourage continued engagement with youth—finding out what they envision for life after 19--in building additional supports for youth aging out.

More info

Contact

Andrea Driedger
AFABC Communications Coordinator
604-320-7330 ext 108
adriedger@bcadoption.com

New Adoption Support Coordinators

We are excited to welcome two new members to our adoption support team!

Angie McMullen is the new ASC for Central and North Vancouver Island, and Sarah Gibson is the new ASC for the Interior region.

Angie is mom to three sons. Growing up, she experienced multiple moves and time in foster care. She always knew she wanted to adopt, and seven years ago her youngest son joined their family through MCFD adoption. Angie has experience with ADHD, anxiety, autism, FASD, prenatal substance exposure, microcephaly, and youth at risk. She is looking forward to getting to know families, lending an encouraging ear, and answering any adoption questions that come her way!

Contact Angie at amcmullen@bcadoption.com or 778-789-5183.

Sarah is mom to a 3-year-old girl who joined her family through MCFD adoption. She has experience with Aboriginal adoption, toddler adoption, attachment, abandonment, and openness. Sarah has been actively involved with AFABC’s programs and services for several years, and she’s looking forward to supporting families through the adoption process and with all stages of being an adoptive family!

Contact Sarah at sgibson@bcadoption.com or 778-789-5713.

Adoption community recognized at celebration event

Sandra Banks accepts Adoption Champion awardJune 22, 2016 – VANCOUVER - The Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 AFABC Adoption Awards. These awards are presented to individuals and organizations that make contributions to the adoption community, waiting children and youth, and AFABC.

  • The Special Recognition Award was presented to Tracy Sherlock, Lori Culbert, and The Vancouver Sun for their June 2015 BC Adoption Series and their ongoing reporting on outcomes for youth in government care.
  • The Spirit Award – Corporate was presented to The Victoria Foundation for over 12 years of financial support, contributing over $250,000 to AFABC.
  • The Helen Mark Excellence in Adoption award was presented to Anne Clayton, the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s Provincial Director of Adoption and Executive Director of Guardianship, Adoption, and Permanency Planning, for her decades of work making the provincial adoption program an integral aspect of child welfare in BC. 
  • Helen Mark Excellence in Adoption Award recipient Anne ClaytonThe AFABC Champion Award was presented to Sandra Banks from Vancouver for her dedicated volunteer services as a support group leader. It was also presented to Insight Support Services in Kamloops for volunteering with our yearly Family Fun Day celebration.
  • The Spirit Award – Individual was presented to Treena and Kevin Innes for being committed AFABC donors for over a decade.

Since 1977, AFABC has been dedicated to finding families for children and also to providing groundbreaking programs that support the entire adoption community. The Waiting Child Toll Free Line, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, the Speak-Out Youth Zone, Focus on Adoption magazine—all are designed to raise adoption awareness, raise funds to support adoption, support children and youth who are waiting for families, and to help families get ready and stay steady throughout their adoption journey.

Learn more:

For more information on the AFABC Adoption Awards, please visit: www.bcadoption.com/adoption-awards

Images from the evening can be downloaded from: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/e40lpk8pcukh3jv/AAB2dbGT6qbPb5RZ_IDHHT5Ea?dl=0

Contact:

Andrea Driedger
AFABC Communications Coordinator
adriedger@bcadoption.com
604-320

Documentary captures the experience of growing up in foster care

Striving for Permanence shines light on the importance of creating permanent connections for children and youth in government care.

 

Vancouver – June 3, 2016 – The Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC) and The Cinematheque are excited to announce the premiere of Striving for Permanence, a poignant documentary created by AFABC’s Speak-Out Youth Group that captures the experience of growing up in government care.

The film highlights the personal stories of five brave young people in and from government care as they work to create permanent connections with caring adults. “I started realizing that permanency was not just a word or an expectation but an actual state of being. We all need a loving place,” says Brooklynn, one of the filmmakers and whose story is featured in the documentary.

The digital storytelling format of the film empowered the youth to share their stories in a way that reflected their personalities and their personal truths. The youth scripted, filmed, produced, and edited the film with the support of The Cinematheque Education Department and AFABC staff.  These youth are sharing their stories with the hope that all youth living in care have permanent adult connections in their lives beyond the age of 19.

“We're thrilled to be a part of the Striving for Permanence documentary project, which has allowed these young filmmakers to create an honest, unique and powerful film,” says Liz Schulz, Cinematheque Education Manager. “Their stories remind us of the crucial role of supportive adults and communities in the lives of all youth, regardless of their background. We're honoured to have used film as a way to showcase their ideas and share such and important message."

Striving for Permanence premieres on Tuesday, June 7 at 5:30pm at The Cinematheque theatre, 1131 Howe Street, Vancouver, as part of BC Child and Youth in Care Week. The filmmakers will be in attendance for the screening. This premiere is free to attend, but registration is required. Attendees can register at www.bcadoption.com/permanence.

Learn more

About The Cinematheque Education Department

For over 20 years, The Cinematheque Education Department has offered film and media education programs and resources for youth, teachers and other community members. From intensive and engaging digital filmmaking programs to film literacy workshops and youth screenings at our theatre, we aim to foster an appreciation and passion for the art of film as well as an
understanding of the impact of visual media in the world around us. The Education
 Department’s programs are available to schools and organizations in the Lower
Mainland and throughout the province, and are tailored to the needs and interests
of each group. Our publications can be sent to any location.

About Adoptive Families Association of BC

For over 35 years, the Adoptive Families Association of BC has been dedicated to finding families for children and youth and to providing groundbreaking programs that support the entire adoption community. AFABC works to inform the public about adoption, engage in conversation about how adoption shapes our society, dispel myths and stereotypes, and increase awareness of kids and youth in care.

Media Enquiries

Andrea Driedger
AFABC Communications Coordinator
adriedger@bcadoption.com   
604-320-7330 ext 108   

Shaun Inouye
The Cinematheque
shaun@thecinematheque.ca
604.688.8202

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