A Victoria adoption fund has granted $126,000 to seven B.C. projects, including a University of Victoria study and a south Island respite care program.
The Adoption and Permanency Fund of BC, which is administered by the Victoria Foundation, exists to support children and youth who are awaiting adoption or other permanent connections. The seven grants will help adoption families access respite care and find families for waiting children.
Of the $126,000, the Adoptive Families Association of BC will use $20,000 to fund a south Island respite care pilot project. Respite care, executive director Anne Tower explained, “means giving a necessary break to parents who have welcomed children, often with special needs, into their home.” The association decided to launch the pilot project here because south Island parents expressed a strong need.
“These parents give everything to their children, 24/7, and sometimes need a chance to regroup and centre themselves,” Tower said. “Evidence shows that these breaks aren’t just nice to have – they often mean the difference between a family failing and a family thriving.”
The need for respite care has only been exacerbated in the last year with reductions in time spent at school and in-person supports.
Tower said they expect to have the pilot running by this fall and will match 10 to 20 parents with five to 10 families in need of respite care. The success of the south Island pilot will determine whether it runs elsewhere.
Another $6,000 of the fund is going toward University of Victoria professor Ashleigh Martinflatt, who specializes in child and youth care. She will be conducting research into how youth define their permanency needs when presented with multiple options.
As of December 2020, the Ministry of Children and Family Development reported more than 600 children and youth in B.C. were still waiting for a permanent family.
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