B.C. Children and Family Development Minister Katrine Conroy (Hansard TV)

B.C. caregivers to get increase for housing developmentally disabled

Family member pay nearly doubles, making it same as foster parents

Premier John Horgan struggled to hold back tears Thursday as he announced the details of B.C.’s first increase in pay in 10 years for people caring for developmentally disabled children and adults.

First announced in Finance Minister Carole James’ budget Feb. 19, the increase provides foster parents an extra $179 a month to help caregivers cover food, clothing and shelter for clients of Community Living B.C., starting April 1. (Schedule of rates here)

The largest increase is for relatives, typically grandparents, whose compensation increases more than 70 per cent to bring it up to the same level as foster parents. That increase was recommended by Grand Chief Ed John, a former children’s minister who called for it to help Indigenous children stay in their families instead of being adopted or put in foster care outside their communities.

Children and Family Development Minister Katrine Conroy said she found out there had been no increases for a decade when she attended the annual general meeting of the B.C. Federation of Foster Parent Associations.

“They were taking money out of their own pockets to provide services to children that we are responsible for,” Conroy said at an event at the B.C. legislature Thursday.

She also heard stories about the plight of relatives caring for children.

“An indigenous grandmother was taking care of three children, and she told me she couldn’t afford to take care of all three kids. So she had to give two of her kids up to foster care, and she said she felt incredibly guilty,” Conroy said. “She felt guilty about the child she kept, because she couldn’t provide him the same opportunities that the foster parents were providing.”

The budget includes $45 million over three years for Community Living B.C. home share providers, a 15 per cent increase overall to support 4,000 people with developmental disabilities. For foster, adoptive and extended family members, the budget is $64 million over three years, including an increase in post-adoption assistance.

Horgan was asked why he was emotional about the announcement.

“All of us, and I believe all members of the legislature, get involved to make life better for British Columbians,” Horgan said. “And the most vulnerable in our society are those who need a voice and need help more than anyone else. And those who provide care to those without a voice, we hear even less from because they’re too busy trying to make ends meet.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Paramedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

Business Profile: Miller brings nearly 30 years of experience to Golden Home Building Centre

Are you thinking of starting a project around the house, fixing something… Continue reading

Bacchus Books hosts Gerritt Shumyk March 25

A cozy venue, nestled in the heart of downtown Golden, hosts musicians… Continue reading

EDITORIAL: Dusty days ahead

The weather is getting warmer, Golden’s resident grizzly bear Boo has come… Continue reading

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Most Read