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Where Ends Don’t Meet: A Roundtable on Child and Family Poverty in British Columbia

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Child and family poverty continue to reach crisis levels in BC. One out of five children in the province live in poverty. Child and family poverty affects the health and well-being of many in our community and profoundly shapes access to opportunity. Amidst school closures, growing rates of homelessness, and persistent inequality, there still is no plan in place to address poverty in our province. This panel will discuss the impacts of child and family poverty in BC and offer policy ideas for civic governments to consider.SPEAKER BIOSADRIENNE MONTANI is the Provincial Coordinator for First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, which is most well-known for the release of the BC Child Poverty Report Card every year. She has served as the Child and Youth Advocate for the City of Vancouver and as the Chairperson of the Vancouver School Board. For most of her life she has worked in the non-profit, human services field, including as Executive Director of Surrey Delta Immigrant Services Society and of Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland. Her academic background is in Asian studies and adult education. Adrienne is the mother of two grown children and has a long-standing interest in the issues of cross-cultural awareness and racism, women’s rights and the impacts of social exclusion on children and youth in low income families.LORELAI HAWKINS is a Cherokee, Sheeswap/Okanagan elder. She is a great grandmother with a family of five generations. Born into poverty she was adopted out and raised mainstream. She officially returned to her people in the 80s. She is a medicine women and bundle carrier. The medicine wheel perspective is having the teachings and tools to help you walk your path in life. We are all teachers and learners.EVA OBERLE is an Assistant Professor with the Human Early Learning Partnership in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. Eva’s main research interests are factors linked to positive child development, and how to promote mental health and wellbeing in all children. She focuses on social and emotional learning in schools, risk factors and resilience, and positive youth development in the face of adversity. Her research investigates the role of peer relationships, relationships with adults (e.g., family members, teachers, mentors), and school-level factors (e.g., classroom climate) in achieving positive, healthy, and successful child outcomes. Eva conducts quantitative research with population-based data, intervention evaluation, and large-scale cross sectional and longitudinal studies. Eva takes a whole-child approach in her research, understanding child development within the ecological contexts in which they grow (i.e., home, school, neighborhood, society).SHAWNA AND SABRINA are parents of two girls (ages 8 and 12). They traveled here from Alberta in an RV nearly two years ago. Upon their arrival they were forced out of their home and onto the streets. Despite these hardships they have fought tooth and nail to keep their family together. They are a resilient and strong family that are now very active in the DTES, where they've found a community of supporters, services, and friends.VIVICA ELLIS, co-founder, Single Mothers Alliance BC
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