Visit our Child and Youth Legal Centre


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.

Our Vision

Our vision is a British Columbia where all children and youth thrive.

Our Mission

To improve the well-being of children and youth in BC through the advancement of their civic, political, economic, social, cultural and legal rights.

SCY’s Rationale

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.

SCY’s Goals

  • Improve the understanding and implementation of child and youth rights
  • Increase the well-being of vulnerable children and youth
  • Advance the planning and development of child and youth friendly communities
  • Grow opportunities for children and youth to be heard and included


Stephanie Howell

Executive Director

Stephanie Howell has worked in the non-profit sector for over 20 years, both on the front line and in administration. For the past five years she has 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.

email: stephanie (at)

Ildikó G. Kovács

Child and Youth Friendly Communities
Project Coordinator

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.

email: ildi (at)

Mandy Thayil

Program Manager

Mandy has several years experience in program development and community engagement towards supporting the well being of children & youth. Trained as a Social Worker, she has supported children and youth in schools and local community. She has a commitment to mobilizing communities to play their part in empowering children & youth.

Mandy is from Melbourne, Australia however now calls Vancouver, BC her second home.

email: mandy (at)


Suzette Narbonne

Child and Youth Lawyer

For the past 27 years, Suzette Narbonne has worked to improve access to justice for the less fortunate through both her legal practice and her professional leadership.

She began her career in 1990 with Legal Aid Manitoba where she served isolated communities in the northern part of the province and conducted free legal advice clinics for First Nations Communities. Five years later, she moved to Prince Rupert where she continued her commitment to low-income people by taking legal aid cases throughout northern BC and by working with anti-poverty organizations. Since 2010, she has been based in Sechelt but continues to provide services throughout the province. Her practice has focussed on family law, child protection, criminal litigation and human rights representation. She has mentored many lawyers through the Canadian Bar Association, 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.  Currently, she serves as an elected member of the Provincial Council of the Canadian Bar Association, BC branch. She joined the Child and Youth Legal Centre as a lawyer in October, 2017.

email: CYCL (at) 


Donna Maser

Managing Lawyer

Donna Maser has practiced family law for the past 20 years. She has been on the Attorney General’s roster for providing legal advice to children in care, has prepared “Hear the Child” reports as court ordered, and has represented children in guardian disputes. From 1998 – 1992 she was on staff with Sto:lo Tribal Council/Sto:lo Nation in Chilliwack and since has represented indigenous clients in family matters. She is a mediator and arbitrator. She was a long-standing member of the Legal Services Society Family Tariff Advisory Committee. She has mentored law students since 2012 through the Canadian Bar Association and the UBC Allard School of Law. She has now commenced employment as managing lawyer for the Child and Youth Legal Centre.

email: CYCL (at) 

Dinali de Fonseka

Office Administrator

Dinali joins us with a long career history in the non-profit sector which began in Sri Lanka where she worked as Personal Assistant to the Executive Director of Christian Children’s Fund. She also gained solid hospitality industry experience during her employment in Bahrain and Dubai, where she worked as Sales Coordinator for a 5-star hotel, the Crowne Plaza Dubai. She returned to working in the non-profit sector when she moved to Vancouver.

email: dinali (at)

Board of Directors

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.


Nina Purewal
Crown Counsel, Ministry of Justice

Vice Chair

Kim Thomson
School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia


Erin Hood
CPA, CA, Bardel Entertainment Inc.


Paul Lepage
Negotiator, Lepage Associates

Jenn Strate
Legal Counsel, College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia

Jennifer Stewart
Social Worker, Ministry of Children and Family Development

Ashley Howard
Executive Officer, Ride More Innovations Ltd.

Sarah Joosse
Wellbeing Promotion Strategist, University of British Columbia

Jessica Tran
Youth Liaison, University of British Columbia Student

Honourary Officers

Joe Rosen, MSW, Instructor Langara College

Tom Berger, QC, Lawyer

Frances Grunberg, MSW, RSW, past President SCY

​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:

Jessica Benson-Mah, Rosie Bolderston, Albert Chen, Rachel Fitt, Andrea Gaede, Winny Sun and Gayly Wu.

If you’d like to volunteer with SCY, please contact us at


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

Photo by Valerie Fronczek

Annual Reports

Download our annual reports below.


P: (778) 657-5544
or toll-free 1-877-462-0037

F: (778) 657-5544

The Society for Children and Youth of British Columbia

303-1720 Grant Street
Vancouver, BC, Canada
V5L 2Y3