Journalists launch ‘Spotlight: Child Welfare’ series into B.C.’s foster system

Black Press Media is part of a collaboration diving into Ministry of Children and Family Development

The Ministry of Children and Family Development is the de facto parent for nearly 6,500 kids in foster care in B.C., and a group of journalists have come together to investigate how well the system is doing, and how it can be bettered.

Spotlight: Child Welfare is a collaborative journalism project that aims to deepen and improve reporting on B.C.’s child-welfare system.

The project, funded through a $100,000 grant by the Vancouver Foundation, includes journalists reporting for Black Press Media, The Discourse, National Observer, APTN, StarMetro, The Tyee and Vancouver Courier.

Since kicking off this one-year project in September 2018, the team has worked closely with youth, parents and others who are connected with and impacted by the system.

The outcome of eight months of research is a public-service journalism project, aiming to serve children and families, particularly Indigenous families because they are grossly overrepresented in Canada’s child-welfare system because of the ongoing and intergenerational impacts of colonization.

The main goal is to introduce readers to in-depth, nuanced, data-driven and solutions-oriented reporting about B.C.’s child-welfare system.

In-depth because stakeholders – youth, parents, Indigenous advocates, academics, etc. – tell us they want to see reporting that takes a holistic view of the child-welfare system, including its overlap with social issues such as housing, mental health, and the legacy of colonial violence.

Nuanced because it’s not enough to cite dismal statistics without providing historical context. Reconciliation means digging deeper into systems where Indigenous people are so starkly overrepresented.

Data-driven because we believe we can help create a more comprehensive picture of the system by filling some of the gaps in the data.

Solutions-oriented because stakeholders tell us tragedy narratives aren’t serving them. They want stories that highlight successful models and explore ways to support families and communities to prevent more kids from going into care.

Here at Black Press Media, readers will be able to take a deep-dive into the state of child welfare in the province through stories published online and in print now until September.


This story was produced as part of Spotlight: Child Welfare — a collaborative journalism project that aims to deepen reporting on B.C.’s child-welfare system. Tell us what you think here.

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