The Society for Children and Youth of BC (SCY) is a unique provincial organization dedicated to improving the well-being of children and youth in British Columbia.
Since 1974, the Society has focused on providing a strong voice representing children and youth. We provide support to adult duty bearers to improve the well-being of children and youth in British Columbia.
Using the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as a foundation, SCY has a track record of creating and delivering programs that have motivated change in research, legislation, policy, and practice in Canada.
Why Child Rights?
SCY bases our work on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) because it reflects a well researched global consensus on what childhood should be. It outlines the minimum standards for the healthy development of children and youth. When Canada ratified the UNCRC in 1991, it expressed its willingness to be bound by the Convention and uphold the rights enshrined within it.
Youth Advisory Committee
As a youth serving organization, ensuring young voices are meaningfully involved in our leadership is of central importance to us. Our Youth Advisory Committee is a paid group of young people that help steer our programs and priorities. This group of youth represents many different geographic regions of BC, racial, cultural, and gender identities, and a wide array of lived experiences. We are very grateful for their service to our organization.
Interested in joining the Youth Advisory Committee? We accept applications on an annual basis. Contact us to learn more!
A British Columbia where children and youth are seen, heard and valued.
To improve the well-being and resilience of children and youth in BC through the advancement of their civic, political, economic, social, cultural and legal rights.
The Society for Children and Youth of BC (SCY) recognizes that adult duty bearers need to advocate for the rights of children and youth of BC as listed in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in order to improve their well-being.
- Child and Youth Rights
- Child and Youth Friendly Communities
- Social Justice
- Organizational Resilience
SCY is committed to the work of dismantling racist and colonialist systems, which is not separate from the realization of children’s rights, but deeply intertwined. Our location in BC on unceded territories is a reminder of the ongoing legacy of colonialism and the importance of working toward true reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
Stephanie Howell (she/her/hers) has worked in the non-profit sector for over 20 years, both on the front line and in administration. Before joining SCY, she worked as a consultant in research, program, and policy writing. She has a degree in Psychology from the University of Victoria. After living in Northern BC for many years, Stephanie and her family have now made Vancouver home.
Ildikó G. Kovács
Ildikó has a background in Psychology, Environmental Studies and Community Planning, and comes to SCY with years of child and youth engagement and leadership experience as a researcher, support worker, mentor, and outdoor educator. Ildi is driven by a passion for human rights, sustainability, and social justice, and a desire to better understand how children’s changing social, cultural, and physical environments affect their health, well-being, and resilience. She integrates participatory planning methods with social and environmental justice education in community-based work and research.
Margie (she/her/hers) has been passionate about advancing young people’s rights for as long as she can remember, dating back at least to age 9 when she rallied her classmates to petition for changes at their elementary school. She has a particular interest in child-inclusive design, and a background working with youth in educational contexts, including 3 years on staff at a democratic free school. She has led classes, workshops and discussion groups on children’s rights for youth and adults. Outside of work she enjoys exploring Vancouver on her bike and is always planning her next outdoor adventure.
Suzette Narbonne was called to the Manitoba bar in 1989 and began her career in The Pas with Legal Aid Manitoba. As counsel she travelled to isolated First Nations communities, conducting free legal advice clinics and litigating for her clients in criminal and family law cases– often in makeshift courts convened in band offices, recreation centres and hydro halls.
Since 1995, she has practiced law in BC.Suzette joined the Child and Youth Legal Centre at its inception in 2017, where she is managing lawyer. She has helped to shape the vision of child representation in BC. She has mentored many lawyers through the CBA, has served as a Governor for the Law Foundation of BC, as a Bencher of the Law Society of BC and as the Chair of the Legal Services Society. She currently serves on the executive of the children’s law section of the CBABC.
Alicia Hubbard (she/her/hers) graduated with distinction from the University of Victoria in 2004, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Alicia studied law at the University of British Columbia, where she obtained a Juris Doctor degree with a specialization in Law and Social Justice in 2011.
While in law school, Alicia completed an internship with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. After completing law school, Alicia worked for West Coast Prison Justice Society advocating for prisoners in B.C. with regard to health care, human rights, and liberty issues.
In 2012, Alicia began articling at Verdurmen & Company in Salmon Arm, B.C. She was called to the bar in 2013 and continued practicing law in Salmon Arm and surrounding communities, primarily in the areas of child protection, criminal defence, and family law. Alicia has represented clients in the Provincial Court of British Columbia and the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Alicia began representing children at the Child and Youth Legal Centre in June 2018.
Michael Zimmerman began his legal career in New Brunswick. In 2014 he moved to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, where he oversaw the operations of provincial family justice services and the development and implementation of the Office of the Children’s Lawyer Program. Michael also directed the development/amendment of the following statutes: Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, Judicature Act, Maintenance Enforcement Act, Family Law Act, Adoption Act, Child Protection Act, Child and Youth Advocate Act as well as the corresponding reform of impacted policies and programs.
In 2020 Michael moved from Prince Edward Island to Bowen Island. He is a Family Law Lawyer and works as the Managing Lawyer (Roster) with the Child and Youth Legal Centre. Michael is currently the Communications Officer for the CBA Child and Youth Law Section and Co-Chair of the CBABC Children’s Law Section.
Adrienne Edmunds joined the Child and Youth Legal Centre in 2021 after spending more than a decade litigating in child protection. Prior to that Adrienne was a Crown Prosecutor, and was also Counsel in Aboriginal Law Services for Justice Canada in the Prairie Region. She has been called to the bars of Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and British Columbia.
Adrienne received a Bachelor of Applied Science in Family and Social Relations from the University of Guelph with a focus was lifespan development and family systems, and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of British Columbia with a focus on Aboriginal and International Law. Adrienne received her Master of Laws in Family Law from Osgoode Hall with a focus on child protection.
A woman of Labrador Inuit heritage, Adrienne has spent her career working among Indigenous issues, communities, and families – including regularly providing justice services to remote First Nations reserves and Inuit communities. Adrienne was a long-standing Bencher for the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, where she served on the Access to Justice and Indigenous Education and Action Committees. She has regularly presented across Canada and abroad on leadership development, non-formal education, Indigenous legal issues, gender equality, and child protection.
Adrienne is passionate about ensuring kids feel seen and heard as they move through intimidating court processes, and empowering kids to exercise voice and choice in shaping their own lives, and the world around them.
Zoe (she/her/hers) is an aspiring community planner working at the intersections of community building, emancipatory justice, and child and youth advocacy. She is passionate about addressing urban inequalities and generating responsive decision-making that builds engaged, resilient, and healthy communities for children and youth. Zoe has a particular interest in food systems, affordable housing, and Indigenous planning, and hopes to explore these avenues further in her work at SCY.
Zoe has experience working at the community-level and with local government in outreach, engagement, and policy development. Zoe is graduating from a Master of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia, with a specialization in social planning and policy for inclusive communities. Zoe also holds a BA in sociology and psychology from the University of British Columbia Okanagan
Mario Parent (he/him/his), is currently obtaining a bachelor of arts at UBC in the Gender, Race, and Social Justice program and minoring in the Indigenous Studies program. By way of the Nass Valley Mario is a member of the Nisga’a nation and now calls Ts’amiks-Vancouver his home.
With over 10 years of experience in child and youth work he’s had the honour of serving the community in a variety of roles. Mario comes with a background in administrative support for not-for-profits, as well as small business consultation, and Indigenous land-based cultural education. Driven by commitments to uphold anti-oppressive and decolonial values Mario takes pride in engaging his practice with Indigenous guiding principles and frameworks. Beyond work Mario is a foodie and enjoys cycling and spending time with his cat Finn.
Zain (she/her/hers) is a Child and Youth Advocate with the Child and Youth Legal Centre. She comes to SCY with a law degree from McGill University and much experience facilitating access to justice for survivors of violence, families involved in child protection matters, and other vulnerable persons. She has worked with organizations including West Coast LEAF, Atira Women’s Resource Society, Access Pro Bono, and Nunavut Legal Aid.
Zain is deeply passionate about making the law and legal structures more accessible, and empowering families by helping them understand their rights, as well as advocating for and with them.
She is fully bilingual in English and French.
I studied in a legal assistant program and worked at a law firm for almost 2 years. I joined the Society to advocate for the children, that they have a voice and can be heard. As I have my own child, I want her voice to be heard and to live in a society that protects her rights to grow up in a safe and healthy environment. My interests mostly focus on making memories with my daughter, doing things like watching movies together, going for a walk, and travelling if we can.
Therese Narbonne received her Masters of Education, at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON. She has a background in management, program planning and evaluation, data management and child development. During her time as an educator and administrator, Therese participated in various committees and initiatives to support and promote indigenous or vulnerable student populations. Her goal was for students who attended public school to see themselves represented in the staff and school environment. Therese is passionate about safeguarding children and youth’s wellness and amplifying their voice. During her two-year term as President of the Board of Directors of the Phoenix Centre for Children and Youth, in Renfrew County, she established the role of a youth director. Therese’s experience in the BC legal system has been as an office assistant and in various contractual roles for SCY. Therese is excited to be a part of the dynamic Children and Youth Legal Centre team.
In her spare time, Therese’s mental wellness activities include traveling, running, cross country skiing, designing clothing, volunteering, gardening, acting, zooming with family, trail walking with her dog, and being bossed by her cats.
Laura graduated from Simon Fraser University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and kinesiology minor. She has a background in providing administrative support for non-profit organizations, as well as working as a legal administrative assistant for a personal injury law firm. With the strong desire to help others, Laura also worked as a Personal Trainer at SFU recreation to empower people to improve their health and become a better version of themselves. She is excited to join SCY team as a Legal Assistant/Intake Worker and use her skills to bring a positive contribution to the community.
In her spare time, Laura enjoys hiking with her dog, working out, and enhancing her skills in 3D modelling and digital sculpting.
Prabhraj has a diploma in Legal Administration and has experience working in a Law Firm. She joined the Child and Youth Legal Centre because she passionately believes in the rights of young persons and vulnerable groups. In the past she has volunteered with various non-profit organizations, including shelter homes for children dealing with substance abuse. Outside of work she really enjoys cooking, gardening and travelling with her partner.
Mina (she/her/hers) comes to SCY with a background in sustainable community development and program administration. She has years of experience supporting young people in different settings. Her participation ranges from tutoring youth and children in the sciences, program administration at BC Children’s, and working on implementing safe drinking water and hygiene stations in schools of remote communities.
Mina holds a BSc from Queen’s University. She has a passion for accessible sustainability and community projects. These are pillars that guide her purpose both broadly, and in her work at SCY. When she’s not working, she can be found hiking, backpacking, skiing, or exploring everything else BC has to offer.
Our volunteer board brings experience and passion to our work. They provide governance and are accountable to SCY, to the people we serve, and to communities, governments and funders who support the activities of SCY. Without them our work would not be possible.
Executive Director of Child and Youth Services – Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia
Brynne has a background in law and public health and for the last decade has worked in the BC Public Service in various positions providing services and support to vulnerable populations. Brynne previously worked as the Director of Justice and Safety Programs with the Community Safety and Crime Prevention Branch, a Regional Director and Coroner with the BC Coroners Service, and as an Advocate and Senior Advocate with the Representative for Children and Youth. She has her Bachelor of Health Sciences from McMaster University, Bachelor of Laws from the University of British Columbia, and Master of Public Health from Simon Fraser University. Brynne is passionate about protecting and promoting the rights of children and youth. She lives in Vancouver and in her spare time likes travelling, cooking, reading, and riding her bike in the sunshine.
Erin has been involved in the non-profit sector in various capacities throughout her career. She is drawn to examining social issues, advocating for change, and investing in the local community. Her role as part of the Foundation family perfectly blends her passions and interests with her skills gained through her background as a Philosophy major and a designated CPA, CA. Outside of work, having grown up as a competitive figure skater, Erin continues to feel fulfilled by a variety of athletic pursuits as a dedicated weekend warrior. She can often be found drinking good coffee, eating healthy food, and cultivating relationships with those she is closest to.
CPA, CA – Controller – Twin Lions Contracting
Tanya is a designated CPA, CA and has more than 7 years experience in the accounting and finance industry. Tanya started her career at PwC in 2012, where she worked at both
the Company’s Vancouver and London, UK offices. After returning to Canada, Tanya worked as a financial analyst for TELUS and is now the Controller at Twin Lions Contracting. Joining the SCY Board has allowed Tanya to merge her passion to advocate for children’s rights with her professional experience.
K’iinuwaas, Carrie Anne Vanderhoop
Indigenous and Community Initiatives Manager, Haida Gwaii Institute
Carrie Anne is Haida of Old Masset, Haida Gwaii. She belongs to the Gawa Git’ans, Masset Inlet Eagle clan. She is a weaver of cedar bark, and also Raven’s Tail and Naaxiin (Chilkat) northwest coast textiles. Her father is Aquinnah Wampanoag from Noepe (Martha’s Vineyard) Massachusetts. She is a mother, aunty, weaver and educator.
Carrie Anne is currently the Indigenous and Community Initiatives Manager at the Haida Gwaii Institute. She also serves on the Aboriginal Steering Committee at the UBC Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP). Previously, she worked as the Curriculum Manager at the Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health, leading the development and delivery of the UBC 23 24 Indigenous Cultural Safety learning experience, which is required learning for students in 12 UBC health science programs.
Carrie Anne has over 15 years of experience in teaching and education. She earned her BA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she studied Comparative Literature and Sociology, and her MEd from Harvard University.
Product Operations Lead – Lululemon
Jacqueline has a background in operations, communications, and engagement, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Victoria and a Masters in Business
Administration from Simon Fraser University. Previously she was the Director of Communications for Net Impact, an organization promoting sustainability in business. Jacqueline believes in the importance of giving children and youth a voice and brings this passion to the work she does promoting SCY and the children they serve. She loves to bring people together, build community and ensure that everyone feels welcome.
Director, Indigenous Research Vancouver Coastal Health Aboriginal Health Centre for Gender & Sexual Health Equity
Brittany (she/her/hers) is shíshálh (Sechelt) mixed ancestry and proud mom to two beautiful children. Brittany obtained her MPH and PhD in Health Sciences from Simon Fraser University. She is an Assistant Professor of Social Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC, Director of Indigenous Research at Vancouver Coastal Health Aboriginal Health and the Centre for Gender & Sexual Health Equity (CGSHE). She has worked in various capacities in research with Indigenous communities and policy for over 15 years. She is passionate about community-driven research, Indigenous research methods, health equity, Indigenous women’s health, housing and homelessness, cultural safety and reconciliation. Brittany’s research currently has a focus on conducting community driven studies that can inform action on the MMIWG calls to justice. Brittany has previously served as a board member for the Public Health Association of BC, Mom2Mom and the Combining our Strength Council at the Minerva Foundation. Brittany is a passionate advocate for Indigenous youth and children’s rights. In her spare time she loves to be near the ocean or in the forest with her family exploring the BC coast.
Youth Probation Officer, Ministry of Children and Family Development.
Graham Lindsay is Tsimshian with roots in both Metlakatla and Gitgaata and is a member of the Raven clan. Graham is currently the youth probation officer for the coast Tsimshian communities and Prince Rupert. He has been in probation for 10 years, with experience working with most of the communities spanning the Pacific Northwest. Graham received his B.A. in Criminology from Simon Fraser University. Graham believes it is a privilege to be part of the SCY board. He believes that supporting children and youth is imperative for a healthy society. He now lives in Prince Rupert with his partner and child.
Joseph Rosen, MSW, Past President SCY
Frances Grunberg, MSW, RSW, Past President SCY
Tom Berger, QC, Lawyer (deceased)
Flora McLeod (deceased)
Basil Robinson, Social Worker (deceased)
SCY’s work is enriched by the contributions of our volunteers and internship students.
Thank you to:
Gautam Parhar, Danika Howell, Daphne Howell, Guille Jimenez, Michael Gargaro, David Eupen and Marissa West
If you’d like to volunteer with SCY, please contact us at [email protected].
Since 1974, the Society has focused on providing a strong voice representing children and youth and advocating for their well-being in British Columbia. Using the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) as a foundation, SCY has a track record of creating and delivering programs that have motivated change in legislation, policy, and practice in Canada. Here are some of the highlights of our history to help you understand the context for our work:
- Government disbands Vancouver Children’s Aid Society
1974 Action Society for Children (ASC) – founded by past board members of Vancouver Children’s Aid Society
Society focused on providing a strong voice in the province representing children and youth
Became the BC branch of the Canadian Council on Children and Youth – working to defend the rights of youth
1978 ASC changed name to TRACY of BC (Taking Responsible Action for Children and Youth) – working to promote awareness of the needs of children and youth
Strong focus on children and play
First in BC to research sexual abuse (“The Sexual Exploitation of Children: An Initial Study” 1979)
Began development of a framework for Community Action and Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children
Provided a “watch dog” function over policies and practices affecting children, youth, and their families
Hosted a series of forums on the “First Three Years of Life”
- Changed name to Society for Children and Youth of BC in 1983
Participated in task forces and research projects
Pioneer role in the field of child sexual abuse prevention – developed school-based program that became established in elementary school curricula, influenced changes in the Evidence Act (Bill C-15), and developed an education theatre project on prevention of sexual abuse with schools
Work in the area of children’s environments and the importance of play resulted in improvements to play environments throughout BC including hospitals, increased awareness in sport, and the development of national guidelines
Initiated the First Year Radio Series, a radio public service broadcast series that covered 46 topics associated with early childhood. Published Viewpoint. Check out an early layout for a front cover, drafted on yellow legal paper!
Helped establish the first teen mothers’ comprehensive education program at Tupper Secondary School
Established a Child Abuse Resource Centre and Children’s Play Resource Centre
The Society developed the Rights Awareness Program after Canada’s ratification of the UNCRC in 1991
Hosted provincial Child Rights conference with Stephen Lewis
Developed Child Rights education program
Launched ‘Put the Child First’ Child Abuse Prevention Initiative
Researched and assessed the Child Sexual Abuse Response System
Produced and disseminated “Child Abuse” Newsletter and a Society quarterly Newsletter
Launched “Focus on Children and Youth” Newsletter in 1996
Involved in the establishment of the Youth Services Alliance of BC
Children’s environment and play initiatives lead to the development of the Child and Youth Friendly Communities Program (CYFC)
Ground-breaking work on rating legal statutes ‘through the eyes of a child’ and analyzing provincial legislation through the lens of the UNCRC (including a four star rating system)
Initiated the concept of child-friendly housing
Hosted a national consultation on child abuse prevention
- Influenced improvements to children as witnesses in the Criminal Court System
- Launched the Child and Youth Friendly Community Awards
- Designated as a clearinghouse for information related to children’s rights and the UNCRC
- Continued to assess Canada’s legislative compliance with the UNCRC including the Secure Care Act and the Youth Criminal Justice Act
- Initiated focus on rights of children and youth with disabilities
- Led forums in Ottawa and Victoria to support the implementation of children’s rights in public policy
- Led the proclamation of National Child Day in over 30 municipalities in BC
- Redesigned the Focus Newsletter and launched “Vocalpoint” in 2004
- Initiated Canada’s first youth rights-based monitoring project
- Further developed CYFC work through a Train-the-Trainers initiative and the development of the provinces first municipal CYFC toolkit based on strategic indicators
- Launched province-wide, multi-media Child Rights Public Awareness Campaign
- Participated in the inaugural United Way Public Policy Institute, designing a framework for municipal engagement to better implement children’s rights
Developed Child and Youth Friendly Communities self-assessment toolkit and hosted national CYFC conference
Host organization for the City of Vancouver’s citizenU program, providing training workshops for youth that address different forms of discrimination
Partnered with Richmond Children First to engage young people in writing Richmond’s first Children’s Charter. Passed by Richmond City Council in July 2011
Launched and aired 6 youth rights Public Service Announcements on radio stations throughout BC. Each of the PSAs were written and recorded by youth
Awarded the Renate Shearer Award by the United Nations Association of Vancouver and the BC Human Rights Coalition in 2014
Awarded the Equitas Award for Human Rights Education in 2014
Val Fronczek in Memorium
It is with deep regret that we inform you of the passing of Valerie Fronzcek. Valerie was the Executive Director of SCY for twenty-three years. She died in May 2013 after a brief illness. She joined our fledgling organization in the early 1980s and brought with her an exquisite understanding of the needs of children, a passion for what was right and the drive to do what was necessary to make good things happen for the children of British Columbia and beyond.
Valerie worked tirelessly to build SCY into a well respected child advocacy organization. Her work has contributed substantially to making the world a better place for children. Valerie was innovative and very articulate. She believed strongly in having a solid working board and always worked collaboratively and energetically with the many board members who contributed their time and energy to the causes of SCY. She held the board in very high esteem and this respect was always reciprocated.
Valerie was never afraid to tackle contentious issues. She authored numerous letters and papers that went to politicians, practitioners, and policy makers; she knocked on the doors of people of influence whom she thought should care about children just as much as she did; she spoke eloquently whether it was to one individual or to a whole conference of people.
This was Valerie’s life.
Those who knew her understood that Valerie was a driving force in the children’s rights movement who spent most of her days and evenings devoted to this noble cause. She was very self effacing and never wanted any personal credit for her deeds. In fact, praise would embarrass her. She had a delicious and rather wicked sense of humour and was always a joy to work with. When Valerie left SCY, we knew it would be a daunting task to find someone to fill her shoes. She was, indeed, irreplaceable.
Valerie loved SCY and she loved her family. She was a devoted mother to Lawrence and Katherine and was overjoyed to be a grandmother. She was a loving daughter and sister. She travelled the world in her role as Communications Officer of the International Play Organization and contributed greatly to promoting the child’s right to play and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Valerie loved to travel and she did so with both style and simplicity. She knew people from all over the world and basked in the light of those relationships. She was a good friend. She loved red wine. She loved to laugh. She enjoyed the moment. She was independent and feisty and loyal.
With Valerie’s passing, the world has lost a champion for children. Through her devotion to the cause and her relentless efforts, the world is a better place for children and families. Thank you Valerie for “giving it all you had.” We hope to continue in your footsteps and make you proud of the work that continues in your memory on behalf of the children who meant so much to you.
By Fran Grunburg, Honourary Officer, SCY
Download our annual reports below.
The Society for Children and Youth of British Columbia
102 – 1678 W. Broadway
Vancouver, BC, Canada