An adult and youth hand reaching for each other. Multiple organization logos are at the top. Text reads: Stop tearing families apart!

Challenge the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s culture of risk and surveillance

The family policing system in BC is destroying families. 

Under the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s (MCFD) current framework, families are assessed for “risk” through clinical judgment, and tools like checklists and questionnaires. 

The current culture, policies, training, and tools that guide the family policing system in BC are profoundly harming families. Risk assessment tools perpetuate and reinforce colonial, racist, ableist, misogynistic, and classist biases.

MCFD’s culture of risk and surveillance upholds ongoing colonization in the lives of Indigenous children, youth, families, communities, and Nations. 

The risk assessment process unjustly blames families. It views family struggles as individual failings, instead of as reflections of the systemic failures arising from a chronic lack of housing, income and disability rates beneath the poverty line, and lack of mental health supports. This is creating intergenerational cycles of intervention and intrusion by MCFD in the lives of families across the province. 

The risk assessment process also lacks accountability and transparency. Sometimes families don't even know they are being assessed. 

This exacerbates an already vast power disparity between the state and families being assessed, and makes it difficult, if not impossible, for families to challenge their assessment as “at-risk.” Because of this, families often fear (for good reason) that they’ll be punished or ignored if they offer alternative understandings about their strengths and struggles. 

MCFD has promised to reform and transform their approach. But small reforms are not enough. Every day spent tinkering with the system and ignoring the root cause of MCFD's culture of risk is another day where families are torn apart.

We call on the government to dismantle the framework for policing families in BC by: 

  1. Taking up transformative and accountable work with Indigenous Nations, communities, and impacted families to develop and affirm collective understandings of safety and well-being that uplift and support families in BC.  
  2. Addressing the structural problems that put families at “risk.”  
  3. Supporting processes and systems that help families and communities stay together and honour each family’s strengths and needs. 

Now more than ever, we need to challenge MCFD’s culture of risk and surveillance. Join us in calling on the BC government to keep families together! 

The time to challenge MCFD’s culture of risk and surveillance is now. Tell your MLA to stop tearing families apart!

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Dear [recipient name will go here],

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