Documentary: Kids Are Only Kids Once

A filmmaker stands behind a tripod with yellow trees in the background.
A behind the scenes look at filming

About the video

Through our Child Welfare Advocacy Communities of Practice project, West Coast LEAF has been working with community to transform public attitudes, a necessity if we hope to transform harmful, colonial systems.

In an effort to shift culture, we created the short documentary Kids Are Only Kids Once in collaboration with parents with firsthand knowledge of the family policing system, as well as 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. We believe that their powerful voices will increase viewers’ understanding and inspire them to action. 

From the bottom of our hearts, we also thank filmmakers Alysha Collie and Dallas Yellowfly of 3 Crows Productions. Their outstanding generosity, commitment, passion, and brilliance made this film possible. 

Content notes:

The film discusses child apprehensions, residential schools, trauma, colonialism, and discrimination against people who use substances.

Support resources for people in BC and across Canada are listed below.

Emotional and legal support

West Coast LEAF is not a legal clinic. We do not offer legal advice, direct services, advocacy, or representation for individuals. Below are support resources in BC.

Toll-free phone: 1-800-588-8717

24/7 crisis support and listening for Indigenous peoples in BC.

Toll-free phone: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)

24/7 crisis support for people anywhere in BC, with interpretation available in more than 140 languages.

Toll-free phone:  1-888-522-2752 (1-888-LABC-PLC)

If the child welfare system has made contact with your family, you can call Parents Legal Centres to find out if you qualify for a free lawyer and an advocate. Parents Legal Centres may be able to provide legal help and representation, advocacy, and referrals.

Parents Legal Centres

Legal services for Indigenous people who could not otherwise access them, focused on criminal law and child protection. In-person services in Chilliwack, Merritt, Prince Rupert, and Prince George. Virtual services for the rest of BC.

Indigenous Justice Centres

Below are support resources available across Canada.

Toll-free phone: 1-855-242-3310

24/7 helpline and online chat support available to all Indigenous people across Canada.

Phone or text 9-8-8

A safe space to talk, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Available across Canada in English and French.

Take action

Share feedback

We encourage you to fill out our online feedback form if you have any questions or comments about Kids Are Only Kids Once. We value learning from our community.


Our sincere thanks to all those who contributed to the development of this documentary.

Alysha Collie, Soowahlie First Nation

3 Crows Productions

Dallas Yellowfly, Siksika First Nation

3 Crows Productions

Blue Thunderbird Woman (Heather Spence), Treaty 1 Territory

Katt Cadieux, Opaskwayak Cree Nation

Keri Guelke

  • Administrator/Respite Worker, PACK (Parents Advocating Collectively for Kin)

Patricia Dawn, Metis/Nehiyawewin Ancestry

  • Guest on the traditional territories of the Hul’qumi’num-speaking Peoples, Advocate at Red Willow Womyn’s Society Mitakuye Oyasin (All My Relations)

Raji Mangat

  • Executive Director, West Coast LEAF

Willow Morgan

Children’s Blessing Song

  • Written by Sherryl Sewepagaham, Cree-Dene from Little Red River Cree Nation

Women’s Warrior Song

  • Used with permission of Elder Martina Pierre, Lil’wat First Nation

Car Andres, q̓ic̓əy̓ (Katzie) First Nation

Deanna Miller, q̓ic̓əy̓ (Katzie) First Nation

Agnes Huang

Nancy Brar

Breezie Meeches, Long Plain First Nation

Jade Spence, Sandy Bay First Nation

Jaycee Spence, Long Plain First Nation

Jordi Meeches, Long Plain First Nation

The Josephy Family

Joshua Pelletier

Keifer Spence, Long Plain First Nation


Kori Smith, Long Plain First Nation



Roberts Roost Resort Quesnel


Sydney Spence, Sandy Bay First Nation

Trinity Mcleod

True Giesinger

Tyra Spence, Sandy Bay First Nation


Others who chose not to be named

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

The Law Foundation of British Columbia