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

Bastion Street bridge closed for construction work

Span connecting downtown to Old City Quarter closed to vehicle traffic for six weeks

Governor General’s Award-winning author launches her new book

Wendy Phillips’s ‘Baggage’ is told in experimental ‘free verse’ style

Nanaimo city councillors to hold e-town hall meeting on strategic priorities

Meeting will take place May 23 at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Nanaimo Heritage Festival helps highlight the long weekend

Parade and family activities took place downtown today, May 19

Crews putting out one of the first wildfires of the season in Nanaimo

Nanaimo Fire Rescue, B.C. Wildfire Service called to Doumont Road fire

Rescuers finally persuade Eiffel Tower climber to come down

The official said the man was ‘under control and out of danger’ on Monday night

Nanaimo ferry stops to let bear swim past

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife

Two cats die in house fire in Nanaimo

Fire happened just after 2 p.m. Sunday on Fifth Street, one resident displaced

Justin Trudeau credits immigration for Canada’s growing tech sector

Trudeau stressed that Canada has become a major source of talent for tech all over the world

Feds launch tourism strategy designed to boost sector 25 per cent by 2025

The fund is supposed to back experiences that show off Canada’s strengths

Mamma Mia! poised to be biggest Chemainus Theatre show ever

Plenty of buzz as Island dinner theatre schedules ABBA-fueled romp

New book from Island author details social history of the E&N railway

Along the E&N tells the story of 32 establishments from Esquimalt to Campbell River.

Wellington Secondary drama program stages adaptation of ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Production will feature two actresses in the role of Alice

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Say no to plastic straws

Straws make drinking frappuccinos easier, but they kill sea creatures, says letter writer

Most Read