Child Welfare Advocacy Communities of Practice

A large group of adults and children have their backs to the camera watching the sunset on a beach.
Photo: unsplash / Tyler Nix

We are incredibly proud to release the documentary Kids Are Only Kids Once, created in collaboration with 3 Crows Productions, parents with firsthand knowledge of the family policing system (often called the child welfare system), and other advocates.

We thank them for speaking out about the devastating impacts of family separation on children, families, Nations, and communities, and for sharing their vision for change. 

 Learn more about the creation of this powerful documentary.

Content note: This video discusses child apprehensions, residential schools, trauma, colonialism, and discrimination against people who use substances.

About the project

We’re facilitating spaces to come together and learn from one another about family policing advocacy (formerly referred to as child welfare advocacy) and to challenge the system. This project builds on our prior work, including:

This project focused on building spaces for advocacy to improve outcomes for families engaged in the family policing system, as well as those who support them.

Our intentions are to uplift and amplify the wisdom and expertise of Indigenous leaders, families, Elders, and child and family well-being advocates to reclaim and transform what is currently a colonial intervention system into a system of child and family well-being in which Indigenous children, families, and communities will thrive.

What we’re doing

We’re building advocacy spaces designed for:

  • Skill building
  • Sharing wise practices
  • Generating and supporting collaboration
  • Supporting system-wide change

The project is structured around three working groups and a steering committee:

The legal advocates working group is made up of people practicing in the area of family policing. This group met virtually every month from 2020-2023 to share wise practices for supporting families in the legal system; seek opportunities for strategic litigation; and to engage in policy advocacy.

The front-line advocates working group is made up of people working in family support and development who work with families engaged with the family policing system. This group met virtually every month from 2020-2023 to develop campaigns and strategies for systemic change and policy advocacy.

A working group of impacted parents and community members focused on capacity-bridging activities for community-level advocacy. This group met every month from 2021-2023. The focus and strategy of the advocacy was developed by the community and supported by West Coast LEAF including storytelling, campaign development, Know Your Rights modules, etc.

The steering committee provides important oversight through ongoing evaluation, troubleshooting, and ensuring transparency, accountability, and alignment with the project goals.

Child welfare advocates of BC listserv

We’re hosting an email listserv for family policing advocates in BC. The purpose of the listserv is to support advocates who work in the areas of family advocacy, family support, family development, etc., who share common values and goals to build community, share wise practices, assist each other with problems arising in their practice, and collaborate on systemic change for families with ministry involvement. This might include questions or discussion regarding:

  • Legislation, and/or regulations
  • Practices and procedures
  • Supporting clients and meeting their needs
  • Referrals
  • Systemic issues and concerns, as well as advocacy and actions to support systemic change
  • Particular laws and issues affecting Indigenous clients, families, and communities

If you are interested in joining the listserv, please email with the subject line: Joining the child welfare advocates listserv. You will be sent a listserv registration before being added.

Parents’ counsel listerv

We’re hosting a Parents’ counsel email listserv to support parents’ counsel members in BC who share common values and goals in building community, sharing wise practices, assisting each other with problems arising in their practices, and collaborating on systemic change. If you’re interested in joining the listserv, please email with the subject line: Joining parents’ counsel listserv. You will be sent a listserv registration before being added. Only practicing lawyers in good standing with their law society may join the listserv.

Get in Touch

For questions, orientation to the working groups, meeting schedules, and Terms of Reference, please get in touch with Suyu He (they/them), project lead and interim manager of community outreach at West Coast LEAF at

This project was made possible by generous funding from the Law Foundation of BC.

The Law Foundation of British Columbia