About FSI
Our Vision & Mission
Our Guiding Principles
The History of the FSI
The Philosophy of FSI
The Goals of FSI
What FSI Does


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’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!

Click the image below to see FSI’s interactive flipbook to see what the Family Support Institute offers to families across BC.


Our Vision

All individuals and families are supported, connected and fully valued in their communities.

Our Mission

To strengthen, connect and build communities and resources with families of people with disabilities in BC.

Our Guiding Principles

*All guiding principles will be led by our Vision, Mission and Beliefs as an organization in all we do

  1. Keep the organization’s vision, mission and beliefs at the heart of all we do.
  2. Support, mentor, and build capacity in families.
  3. Promote inclusion for people with disabilities and their families in all aspects of our work.
  4. Promote equal rights and equitable opportunities for people with disabilities and their families in all aspects of our work.
  5. Support families to advocate for and promote quality supports and services for people. with disabilities and their families and respect choice and diversity in all areas of life.
  6. Celebrate and support team members for exemplary teamwork and collaboration.
  7. Share knowledge and best practice in family support, advocacy, stakeholder relations, and projects always.
  8. Build relationships with community partners who align themselves with the organization.
  9. Advocate for the social change.
  10. Participate and contribute in community and with families.
  11. Value diversity in backgrounds, experience and perspectives.
  12. Be inclusive – inviting and accepting of differences in one another.


Our History

In 1985, the members of a family support committee of Inclusion BC 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 Institute became a separate non-profit agency. The mandate of the Family Support Institute of BC is to strengthen families who had a son or daughter with any disability.

Our Philosophy

The Family Support Institute’s philosophy is rooted in the following beliefs:

  • That families are the best voice to speak for their own unique circumstances;
  • Families have a critical role in shaping the future for their family members;
  • Families are the best resource to support one another;
  • Informed families are more empowered to speak for themselves when needed; and
  • Informed involved, confident families are the most effective agents for creating social change.


Our Goals

The Family Support Institute will: 

  • have a strong and effective volunteer Resource Parent / Resource Family Member network that is engaged, responsive and involved.
  • establish a system for evaluating and communicating our impact to our stakeholders and the public.
  • develop and implement an informed diversity action plan that reflects the demographics of B.C.
  • have a board and committees that are educated and informed to confidently lead and govern the organization and ensure its vibrancy into the future.
  • increase its revenue by 15%

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.