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

Harrison retiree leaves legacy of ‘non-stop ideas’

Ruth Altendorf is remembered as a ‘“bubbly, enthusiastic, outgoing person’

Harrison musician Todd Richard gearing up for album release party in Chilliwack

Todd Richard’s third album, Live Your Life, features all ‘true-story’ songs

Told ‘no’ twice by local shelter, homeless Surrey man sent to Hope anyways

Deemed medically stable, patient was taxied to Hope by hospital when a spot in Surrey wasn’t located

Agassiz speed skater heading to Canada West championships

Mya Onos, 11, is qualified for her first provincials this year, and is now taking on Western Canada

Harrison considers future of memorial bench program

Harrison to keep maintaining bench plaques, council seems to feel new benches could be in the future

Harrison Hot Springs students bring ‘Twelfth Night’ to life

The adaption of Shakespeare’s classic comedy include songs and phrases from Canada’s east coast

‘Full worm super moon’ to illuminate B.C. skies on first day of spring

Spring has sprung, a moon named in honour of thawing soil marks final super moon until 2020

Having phone within sight while driving does not violate law: B.C. judge

The mere presence of a cell phone within sight of a driver is not enough for a conviction, judge says

Woman punched on the sidelines of B.C. soccer game

Both involved were watching the U21 game in West Vancouver from the sidelines when things got heated

B.C. launches immunization program at schools to stamp out measles resurgence

Vaccination records to be checked at B.C. schools next fall

Couple rescued after Sea to Sky Gondola refused ride down hill

‘We were cold as hell, my lips were blue. I cried the entire way down’

B.C. man sentenced for tying up, assaulting and robbing another man at hotel

Gabriel Stephen Nelson robbed and assaulted travelling businessman in Nanaimo in 2017

B.C. girl and her toy monkey make videos to fight negativity on Facebook

Ava Ast created the Ava and Cello’s Good Deed Page last month

Deadline extended through April to nominate top B.C. educators

Second year of Premier John Horgan’s awards offers $3,000 bursary

Most Read