About the Family Support Institute of BC
The Family Support Institute (FSI) is a provincial non-profit charitable society registered in 1985. FSI was created to strengthen families faced with the extraordinary circumstances that come with having a family member who has a disability.
Directed by families, the Family Support Institute assists and supports families who have a family member with a disability. This support stems mainly from our large volunteer network of over 260 Resource Parents (RPs) and Resource Family Members (RFMs). These volunteers follow a peer-to-peer family support model that consists of sharing experiences, sharing expertise, guiding and supporting families in their own communities and providing emotional and in person support.
- FSI is unique in Canada and is the only grassroots, parent-to-parent support organization with a broad volunteer base.
- FSI is not an advocacy organization.
- FSI believes that families are the experts, and ultimately the strongest voice, when it comes to their children.
- FSI’s supports and services are free to any family.
- FSI supports all families, with children and adults of all ages and all disabilities including mental health challenges.
- FSI celebrates diversity!
In 1985, the members of a family support committee of Inclusion discussed ways to better support families. It became clear that there was a need for an agency to provide family support. In the fall of 1986, with funds from the St. Christopher’s Foundation, the Family Support Institute of BC (FSI) was established.
FSI was the first of its kind in Canada.
The Family Support Institute’s philosophy is rooted in the following beliefs:
- All people have gifts and strengths to contribute to society
- Parents are the experts when it comes to understanding their own children
- Families are a unique and valuable resource to one another
- Informed, involved, and confident parents are the most effective agents for social change on behalf of their children
- All people have a right to be valued and to belong
- Empower, inform, and support families throughout B.C
- Maintain a Resource Parent / Resource Family Member network
- Provide information, support, and training to the FSI network
- Develop, coordinate, and provide workshops and training opportunities, for families in B.C
- Foster relationships with government and community organizations
- Take leadership on issues of relevance to families
- Offer information, education, and training to professionals and enhance their ability to support families
- Educate the community on the role of the Family Support Institute
What FSI Does
FSI has established a volunteer network of Resource Parents (RPs) and Resource Family Members (RFMs) in communities across the province. These volunteers have all faced the challenges that come with having a son, daughter, or family member with a disability. Often, they have specialized knowledge in areas such as preschool years, educational opportunities, respite options, family support, and advocacy. These RPs and RFMs can do the following for families in their communities:
- Set up and facilitate support groups
- Receiving phone calls/emails from parents and professionals
- Act as members of advisory committees at a local and/or provincial level
- Attend planning meetings as support for other families
- Link with community groups to increase their awareness of the Family Support Institute and the support it provides
- Develop relationships with families and offering one-to-one supports
At our office we support by
- Taking calls from families in need and connecting them with an RP/RFM in their region
- Accompanying families to important meetings, and connecting families with each other.
- Delivering workshops and training throughout BC.
- Promoting networking to enable families to build upon the expertise of each other and address common issues, needs, and concerns.
- Offering up-to-date information on services, current practices, and educational options.
If you are looking to be supported by one of FSI’S RP/RFMs, please contact our office at (604) 540-8374 and ask to be connected with an RP/RFM in your region. We will do our best to put you in touch with a volunteer in your community.
Click the image below to see FSI’s full two-page brochure: