Many of you have expressed in various tones your conviction that serious changes must be made to the protection component of our B.C. child welfare system. Some of you write from a personal experience of great anguish. Living through months and even years without your children, or worse, never having the children returned. I do think that you have an opportunity to make a difference. You have a story. I don't. I merely have a sensitive sympathy meter and a ready pen. I believe that if you are going to take the challenge there are some things that must be done well. Some of you cannot do this. You are still too angry. This is about affecting change not merely scoring your point. Someone has to do the following and perhaps that someone is you. If enough someones become involved in a proactive movement, perhaps the needed changes can occur.
1.Contact your Member of Parliament. The members comprise the body that has created the framework within which the Ministry of Children operates. When you have identified the primary solution that mean the most to you and will benefit most children and parents affected by Ministry involvement, approach one of these lawmakers.
2.Contact the Media. MCFD is sensitive to media coverage as we have discerned even recently when the Representative for Children and Youth took the government to court. MCFD responds predictably with over zealousness when there has been a child fatality while in care or some abuse in a foster care facility. A change in media coverage, like more of it, more scrupulous investigative journalling can change MCFD operations. For that reason among the people you may want to contact are (1) reporters who regularly cover child welfare items; or (2) the news editor for network stations or news magazines; or even (3) the editorial board of these outlets.
3.Capitalize on Media Opinion Pages. Letters to the editor opportunities invite the kind of comment you desire to make. Make sure you work smartly, writing only 100-250 words. That means thinking clearly about one central point regardless of how many points you could or would like to make. Pay attention to news/media guidelines and stick to them. Enough of these over time makes a point. And if you write to correct a prior statement, simply set the record straight rather than question the journalist's motives.
4.Use the Comment Section of News Agency Websites. News organization welcome comments at the end of stories. No one knows how many people read the comments, and of course because anonymity conceals the writers, some deliver vile and personal attacks. When you find a discussion that is civilized, enter in to make a comment. Keep your focus on the issues.
5.What to Seek in Respect to either MPs or Journalists. Ask for a personal face to face meeting. Make an initial approach by e-mail preferably but it can be by letter and in this explain how the system is harming those whom it is intended to help. Ask for a meeting to speak about possible solutions. Don't get lost telling your own story or accuse anyone in the system of being immorally motivated. Simply give an overview of how your child(ren) are being harmed. When a reply is not forthcoming within a few days follow it up with a fresh email and if time passes again make it a phone call in the morning. If you obtain a meeting it will be brief, at most fifteen minutes. You must be well prepared with your most important points. You can have a written organized document ready to hand to the host.
6.Whatever you do avoid the 'gestapo' references or anything that blows your credibility out of the water and in fact makes legislators and reporters angry.