Documentary: Kids Are Only Kids Once
About the video
Through our Child Welfare Advocacy Communities of Practice project, West Coast LEAF has been working with community to transform public attitudes, a necessity if we hope to transform harmful, colonial systems.
In an effort to shift culture, we created the short documentary Kids Are Only Kids Once in collaboration with parents with firsthand knowledge of the family policing system, as well as other advocates. We thank them for speaking out about the devastating impacts of family separation on children, families, Nations, and communities, and for sharing their vision for change. We believe that their powerful voices will increase viewers’ understanding and inspire them to action.
From the bottom of our hearts, we also thank filmmakers Alysha Collie and Dallas Yellowfly of 3 Crows Productions. Their outstanding generosity, commitment, passion, and brilliance made this film possible.
Content note: This video discusses child apprehensions, residential schools, trauma, colonialism, and discrimination against people who use substances.
Emotional and legal support
West Coast LEAF is not a legal clinic. We do not offer legal advice, direct services, advocacy, or representation for individuals. Below are support resources in BC.
Toll-free phone: 1-800-588-8717
24/7 crisis support and listening for Indigenous peoples in BC.
Toll-free phone: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
24/7 crisis support for people anywhere in BC, with interpretation available in more than 140 languages.
Toll-free phone: 1-888-522-2752 (1-888-LABC-PLC)
If the child welfare system has made contact with your family, you can call Parents Legal Centres to find out if you qualify for a free lawyer and an advocate. Parents Legal Centres may be able to provide legal help and representation, advocacy, and referrals.
Legal services for Indigenous people who could not otherwise access them, focused on criminal law and child protection. In-person services in Chilliwack, Merritt, Prince Rupert, and Prince George. Virtual services for the rest of BC.
- Share the Kids Are Only Kids Once video in your community and on social media
- Invite us to screen the film and facilitate a discussion for your post-secondary class, workplace, or community group – email Alana at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Share our open letter calling for an end to involuntary drug testing of parents by the family policing system, written jointly with PACK (Parents Advocating Collectively for Kin)
- Participate in the campaign challenging the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s culture of risk and surveillance
- Speak out in your community to challenge stigma and the unjust blaming of families who are dealing with the family policing system
- Call on the government to address systemic problems like poverty and racism
We encourage you to fill out our online feedback form if you have any questions or comments about Kids Are Only Kids Once. We value learning from our community.
Our sincere thanks to all those who contributed to the development of this documentary.
Blue Thunderbird Woman (Heather Spence), Treaty 1 Territory
- Indigenous Coordinator, PACK (Parents Advocating Collectively for Kin)and Indigenous Peer Expert/Co-Creator, KANDU (Knowledging All Nations and Developing Unity)
Katt Cadieux, Opaskwayak Cree Nation
- Executive Director/Founder of UNDU (Uniting Northern Drug Users UNDU’ing Stigma)
- Administrator/Respite Worker, PACK (Parents Advocating Collectively for Kin)
Patricia Dawn, Metis/Nehiyawewin Ancestry
- Guest on the traditional territories of the Hul’qumi’num-speaking Peoples, Advocate at Red Willow Womyn’s Society Mitakuye Oyasin (All My Relations)
- Executive Director, West Coast LEAF
Children’s Blessing Song
- Written by Sherryl Sewepagaham, Cree-Dene from Little Red River Cree Nation
Women’s Warrior Song
- Used with permission of Elder Martina Pierre, Lil’wat First Nation
Car Andres, q̓ic̓əy̓ (Katzie) First Nation
Deanna Miller, q̓ic̓əy̓ (Katzie) First Nation
Breezie Meeches, Long Plain First Nation
Jade Spence, Sandy Bay First Nation
Jaycee Spence, Long Plain First Nation
Jordi Meeches, Long Plain First Nation
The Josephy Family
Keifer Spence, Long Plain First Nation
Kori Smith, Long Plain First Nation
Roberts Roost Resort Quesnel
Sydney Spence, Sandy Bay First Nation
Tyra Spence, Sandy Bay First Nation
Others who chose not to be named
This film was made possible by generous funding from the Law Foundation of BC.