Fairness for Children Raised by Relatives Society is a non-profit society established and registered in July 2021. Our membership is made up of kinship caregivers across British Columbia Canada. The volunteer board is elected at the annual general meeting held once a year, typically in early summer. New directors may be appointed throughout the year in exceptional circumstances.

I have joined the F4CRR Board as I want to be part of the change in creating a system that is fair for all children in care.  I became involved with Fairness through Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. While participating in support circles I found so many kinship caregivers facing challenges similar to mine and trying to advocate for their children on their own. I believe together, we can make a positive change for all.

In 1994, I completed an Office Administration Course at Langley College, gaining skills I have used on the various Committees, Councils and Boards I have served on since that time.  From 1998 to 2013 I volunteered at the school and school district levels, holding positions as Parent Advisory Council Chair, Treasurer, and Director of Communications.  I continue to work for the Victoria Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (VCPAC), maintaining their website, administering their communications, taking minutes of meetings and acting as a historical resource.  From 2008 until its end in 2019 I was involved with the Vancouver Island Parent Conference (VIPC), starting as a director, later to become an employee.  I managed their communications, website, and was responsible for registration and payments.  I have also served on the board of the Burnside Gorge Community Association and administered the Colquitz Parent Ambassador Program.  I am experienced in using databases, spreadsheets, various website platforms and communication tools.  

Charlene Cash is my name. Secwepemc-ken ell St’at’imc-ken. I am from the Secwepemc and St’at’imc Nations. I will happily accept another year as a Director for Fairness for Children Raised by Relatives. It has been a good year with our society, involving lots of learning, advocating, and promoting our initiatives. There are lots of great goals and ideas evolving for next year, too. 

My husband and I just celebrated our 25th year of being together. We have 2 wonderful children. We have been kinship caregivers on and off since we first started dating. We’ve taken in more than half a dozen of our kin, both formally and informally. Sometimes for only a few months, sometimes for a few years. I recently finished my teaching degree and I’m currently writing curriculum. My areas of interest include: Indigenous education, research, and inclusive education. I study law in my spare time.  

I have been a Director for Fairness for Children Raised by Relatives since 2021. I started as Kinship Care Advocate with Grandparents raising Grandchildren and was nominated to become one of the first Directors for Fairness for Children Raised by Relatives when it incorporated in 2021. 

Since 2011, I’ve acted as a Resource Coordinator and Local Community Volunteer with multiple non-profit societies. I also maintain a sharing closet for families who are in need. Other work including: advocacy for families in need, coordinating donations and/or services for large groups and individuals. I have been an active Volunteer and Donation Centre Coordinator during summer wildfire seasons, assisting Elders, volunteer firefighters, families, and evacuees all over BC. In 2018, I received the “Above and Beyond” Award from the BC Provincial Government.

For 2 years starting in 2018, I was Vice President for a local non-profit society in Kamloops. I assisted with night outreach, maintaining our social media platforms, event planning and hosting, fundraising campaigns, coordinating care packages and other giving campaigns. In 2018, I was nominated for “Volunteer of the Year” by Reader’s Choice Awards Kamloops This Week, for my Volunteer work in the Kamloops local community. 

For the past 10 years, I’ve been a parent and school volunteer with SD73. This includes volunteering for special events, field trips, and in class. I’ve also prepared Indigenous education materials, helped with after school groups, helped design and make regalia for students. I recently helped Merritt flood evacuees at the SD73 donation centre. 

Knowing what our family went thru over 19 years of raising special needs grandson, I want to support the creation of a fair and just support for all kinship caregivers 

I come from a career of advocacy. 10 years at Boys and Girls Club supporting parents of acting out teens and grief and loss programs.

In the last 19 years I have personally spent my time self advocating for  our family and sharing our story by attending various conferences with Doctors of BC

We were involved in a coalition working to improve support for families dealing with kin whom have mental health concerns.  These conferences had a very large number of participants from all areas concerning kinship caregivers, social workers, teachers, child psychologists, child psychiatrists, mental health, Counsellor’s, doctors and youth.

I have accepted the title of Director of Advocacy as I feel it’s a match for my skill set.

I have been involved with Grandparents Rights (trying to get visiting rights to my Grandson), Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and advocacy for Grandchildren since 1997.  I have raised my Grandson and later co-parented my Grandson from when he was 11 years old until he was 18.  Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and Kinship Care have been an important part of my life.

I am a facilitator for the Prince George Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, a board member of the BC Schizophrenia Society (PG Branch), a board member of the Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Committee, a Family Advisory board member of The Foundry.

My background is in accounting and Insurance.

My husband and I raised our grandson from 4 days old. We struggled with having to take our daughter’s baby from her, because of her mental health issues, drug addiction and TBI there really was no choice. This can be heartbreaking for families having to make these life changing decisions. We experienced a system that was adversarial in nature. We got caught in many rounds of court appearances and little to no support from MCFD. 

I come from a career of self-employment and then after our grandson was older I became postmistress in a small Vancouver Island village. I also found myself having to take the role as advocate in the school system for our special needs grandchild I attended 

I am a single grandparent raising my now 16 year old grandson, he first came to me at the age of 2.   Prior to his arrival I had been raising my oldest grandson who is now turning 27 years old and came into my care when he was 11.  By the time my first grandson was 12 years old, his brother also came into my care.  There was a big difference in taking on a 2 year old and there was a huge learning and research curve.  I was working full-time and needed to set up day care and navigate what services and supports were available.

My career at the British Columbia Institute of Technology spanned 37 years and I spent the last 15 years of it working as an Operations Administrator for Part-time Studies across the institute.  Within my role, I had many different responsibilities from producing and facilitating an annual Professional Development for the Part-time Studies Instructors for approximately 100 instructors, to holding quarterly networking sessions for the 60 or more Part-time Studies Program Assistants.  My partner and I were responsible for the development, documentation and facilitation of a training plan for all new Program Assistants, we would do one on one or group training sessions.  I assumed the leadership role in an institutional grassroots engagement committee that was sanctioned by the Institute President.  I was also responsible for leading the Registrar’s Office engagement team. During my time at BCIT I served on the Educational Council in the Policy Review Committee.  I also was involved in projects to create a new PTS Final Grades Entry module, as well as making modifications and changes to the existing PTS Contracts module on BCIT’s Enterprise system working closely with the BCIT IT staff.  I also maintained two different sites on the BCIT internal social media tool, one for providing information to both Part-time Studies Instructors and Program Assistants and the other involving marketing and communicating to the Institute about our upcoming Engagement Open Houses. 

I retired just prior to COVID happening and I promised myself that I would become involved in kinship care advocacy.  I am very passionate about bringing together all kinship caregivers, and together we can end inequalities and promote better support and services for kinship caregivers.  I stepped in as President last October and believe we have accomplished a lot of amazing things in the past year and looking forward to 2023 and beyond.

I am passionate about this society because I see the need, firsthand. Five years ago, I suddenly found myself in the role of kinship caregiver to a newborn at the birth of my grandson. I was sorely unprepared when thrown into a system I knew nothing about, MCFD child protection and the family law system. I was overwhelmed and terrified and didn’t know where to turn. I felt completely alone. 

Since then, I have educated myself and am no longer in personal trauma as we are legally his guardians. My heart is no longer in turmoil, so my mind is clear and able to apply my professional skills and talents to help advocate for systemic change for all families, and provide support along the way.

Over the years I have provided support to other grandparents like myself both informally and formally as co-facilitator of a Kinship Care and Grandparents Raising Grandchildren support group in my community (currently in hiatis) through Parent Support Services Society of BC.

I am a communications and online marketing specialist since the late 1990s and have worked with close to a dozen non-profits through my freelance agency. I develop online marketing tools to help them harness and leverage technology to bring awareness to their important work. I provide consulting services for traditional websites and social media. 

In addition to my freelance work, I am currently employed as Communications Manager of a non-profit charitable organization. 

I have extensive board experience: currently on the Fundraising Committee for the Shuswap Children’s Association; previously Public Relations Committee Chair and Foundation Committee Chair for Daybreak Salmon Arm Rotary Club; Director/Secretary for our local Canadian Mental Health Association branch; Online Communications Director for Shuswap Women in Business.

Are you interested in sharing your time and talents? Find out how you can apply.