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

Kelowna artist featured on furniture

Shandra Smith’s work is now available on credenzas

Destructive blaze in West Kelowna fatal for cat

The fire at a West Kelowna condo claimed the life of one tenant’s cat

Man pinned under metal tank in West Kelowna

Emergency personnel are on the scene

Mudslide sends debris into Highway

Highway 33 near Joe Rich had mud spilled on the highway from the slide

Kangaroo Creek Farm hops into season

Lake Country’s popular tourist site has opened its doors for the season

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

Bobrovsky perfect as Blue Jackets blank Canucks 5-0

Vancouver shut out for 10th time this season

Sock Hop aims to send dancers back to another time

Writers’ Festival fundraiser in Salmon Arm springs into step for another year

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Trudeau in Vancouver to support Tamara Taggart at Liberal nomination event

The former broadcaster is seeking the nomination for the Vancouver Kingsway riding

Penticton SAR team helicopters injured climber to safety

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

Kootnekoff: R v. Sidhu, was he asleep?

Driver in Humboldt crash wasn’t distracted at time of collision with bus,… Continue reading

Most Read