A ministry dedicated to obliterating child poverty is on the B.C. New Democrats' agenda if elected next May, the critic for children and family development pledged Thursday.
"We have the bigger responsibility as the province to come to the plate and say, 'We as a society find (child poverty) unacceptable,'" said Claire Trevena, the MLA for North Island.
"We as a province have a responsibility to do something to combat it."
Trevena is on a provincewide tour meeting with stakeholders and community services to discuss the state of essential services for children and families.
Be it in Prince George, where the tour began earlier in the week, or Kamloops, Trevena says she hears the same complaints about rising cases of child poverty and inconsistent funding for programs and services.
She said the NDP has a defined strategy to tackle this issue. There will be a minister who will stick to specific targets and timelines in order to lift people out of poverty.
"We talk about it a lot and we should talk about it a lot. It's wrong that we have a high level of child poverty in B.C.," said Trevena.
The Liberals only focus on a handful of communities and, although the effort is housed within the Ministry of Children and Family Development, the management and cost is downloaded on individual community organizations, said Trevena.
"We're going to look at a provincewide approach," she said. "We're not working in isolation."
When it comes to funding, the Liberal's year-to-year model is unacceptable, she said. Trevena believes community groups need stable funding in order to provide consistent programs and services.
Funding is always a concern, and not just for organizations like Interior Community Services.
But Val Janz, who coordinates the non-profit's Make Children First program, said funding is tight across the board right now, and not just with programs catering to children.
"Everyone is always asked to do less," she said, adding it's a sign of the times more than the mandate of any one government.
But Trevena believes programs dedicated to children and families should never suffer from a lack of funding.
Trevena concludes her tour in Kelowna today.