Put your baby to sleep in a cardboard box? A Finnish idea is winning converts in North America

Click here to read the full article or an excerpt below.


Michael Lea The Whig-Standard Postmedia Network


In Finland, all families are given baby boxes – or cash grants if they prefer – as long as the mother is receiving prenatal care. The country’s infant mortality rate decreased from 65 deaths for each 1,000 children born in 1938 to an estimated 2.5 deaths per 1,000 births in 2016, less than half the U.S. rate of 5.8.

The program, enacted in 1937, was initially meant for low-income mothers. The Finnish government was looking for a way to better support babies and families when the child mortality rate was high and the birthrate had dropped, said Kiti Laitinen, coordinator of family benefits at Finland’s social services institution, known as Kela. The baby boxes not only provided material support but also helped connect families with health care and social services.

Parent Support Services Society of BC, About

Click on the links for Resources, Grandparents Raising GrandchildrenFacebook, or their Home page to learn more or read an excerpt below. They are an invaluable family resource. Please share.


GRG Support Line

If you’re a grandparent or other relative raising a family member’s child, you can get information and advice from the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (GRG) Support Line to:

  • deal with complex services systems such as the Ministry of Children and Family Development,
  • find the answers, assistance, and resources you need to prevent or solve problems, and
  • learn about benefits and services that will support your whole family.

The GRG Support Line is staffed by two part-time advocates trained in advocacy, social work, family law, and government services related to kinship caregiving.

Contact the GRG Support Line:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

At other times, you can leave a voicemail message or send an email, which will be returned promptly.


Click here or on the pdf file to read the full report or an excerpt below.


My interest in differential response comes from time spent meeting with children and families as a child protection social worker with the British Columbia Ministry of Children and Family Development. Many of these meetings consisted of parents telling me stories about how their family was struggling, usually in more than one area, and why they were asking for help. It was not uncommon for these family challenges to intersect with each other in unique ways to produce intricate hardships for parents that would in turn be experienced in some way by the children. Parents often attempted to explain during first meetings how their struggles were related to the child protection concerns. Issues ranging from chronic poverty, social isolation, difficulty navigating service systems, domestic violence, the immigration process, mental illness and substance use were ongoing problems by the time child protective services became involved. The building of relationships in this context of uncertainty continues to be a great challenge, yet these relationships were the most memorable and continue to be, in my opinion, the most effective element of meaningful change.



BC Law Institute (BCLI) and the Canadian Centre for Elder Law (CCEL)

The British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI) carries out scholarly research, writing and analysis for law reform, collaborating with government and other entities, and providing materials and support for outreach and public information. The Canadian Centre for Elder Law (CCEL) carries out similar work focused on issues of interest to older adults. Click here to learn more.

Looking for legal advice or legal information? Start Here.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to access any Supreme Court Lawyers in the Comox Valley who are separate and different from Family Court Lawyers. As well Legal Aid Lawyers don’t do divorces, division of family assets, child support and family support. Nor have two Legal Aid Lawyers that I have worked with done much to protect my children because I’m back in that mess again. Hopefully it gets resolved this time. There was more access to lawyers 6 years ago than there are now. Click here to learn more.

Algae Blooms set up a “positive feedback loop”, creating their own favorable conditions

Lake Erie isn’t the only lake dealing with cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins. It’s a problem across Canada. Studies report there is algae in all Canadian lakes. What is being done to learn more about this complex contaminant and it’s potential toxins. How can families who draw their water from lakes not be exposed to the toxins like Toledo, Ohio residents were in 2014 who have an eight-phase water treatment process? Are water authorities testing for phosphorous in our lakes’ sediment? BMAA, a species of Cyanobacteria, may be connected to ALS, Parkinsons, and Alzheimers. Infrastructure costs are projected to be over $12k/person and I don’t feel the water authorities are fully grasping the full complexity of what is to come with this particular contaminant given that for every degree rise in temperature will cause 7% more moisture in the atmosphere which will cause more erosion and phosphorous in our lakes. When cyanobacteria get a toe-hold in healthy, pristine (oligotrophic) lakes they can set up a “positive feedback loop” (called biogeochemical cycling) that amplify the effects of pollutants and climate change and make conditions more favourable for algal blooms which threaten water resources worldwide. Click here to learn more about the study or read an excerpt below.


The findings suggest cyanobacteria—sometimes known as pond scum or blue-green algae—that get a toe-hold in low-to-moderate nutrient lakes can set up positive feedback loops that amplify the effects of pollutants and climate change and make conditions even more favorable for blooms, which threaten water resources and public health worldwide. The findings shed new light on what makes cyanobacteria so successful and may lead to new methods of prevention and control.

Biogeochemical cycling is the natural recycling of nutrients between living organisms and the atmosphere, land and water. The researchers found that can influence lake and the ability of a lake to maintain its current conditions by tapping into pools of nitrogen and phosphorus not usually accessible to phytoplankton. The ability of many cyanobacterial organisms to fix dissolved is a well-known potential source of , but some organisms can also access pools of phosphorus in sediments and bottom waters. Both of these nutrients can subsequently be released to the water column via leakage or decomposing organisms, thereby increasing for other phytoplankton and microbes.



Determination of total phosphorus in lake sediments

During Bob Sandford’s presentation at the Comox Valley Eco-Asset Management Symposium on March 14-15, 2017, he stated “cyanobacteria is affecting all lakes in Canada.” Bob Sandford is the EPCOR Chair, Water and Climate Security United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment & Health. To identify whether cyanobacteria can gain a foothold in our lakes we need to test the level of phosphorus in the lake’s sediment and there are four different methods experts use. Click here to read the full study or an excerpt below.


page-4 Figure 1


Abstract Several methods are in use to measure total phosphorus in lake sediments making cross-study comparisons tenuous, and may lead to potential errors in calculating other phosphorus fractions. Four methods in common use in the limnological literature were compared using sediments spanning a range of organic content from 2 to 35% C. No significant differences were found in within-lake comparisons, although a method using persulfate oxidation was highly variable, and this variability was correlated with organic content suggesting inconsistent oxidation. The other methods (combustion, acid digestion with HClO4, H2SO4 ? H2O2) gave uniformly small variances.


The collection of sediments ranged from 2 to 34.9% carbon (Table 1), and encompassed the range of organic matter found in most lake sediment investigations. Columbus Bog is a small (0.37 ha) dystrophic, seepage bog lake with no inlet or outlet. The overwhelming portion of its sediments is derived autochthonously, or is delivered as wind-blown detritus (e.g., pollen). At the other extreme, Juniper Basin of Lake Champlain is a deep offshore site in a large oligo-mesotrophic lake where the major portion of the sediments is composed of clastic material from streams draining the Adirondack and Green Mountains to the west and east, respectively, and the Champlain Valley with its extensive agricultural development adjacent to the lake.

The results of the four analytical methods are shown in Fig. 1. Although there were significant differences in the TP concentrations among the lakes, ranging from a low of 850 lg/g in Columbus Bog sediments to a high of 2,750 lg/g in Sugar Lake, there were no significant differences among the analytical methods (two-way ANOVA; Flake = 110.3, P\0.0001; Fmethod = 1.57, P = 0.2046). Although the methods gave the same mean TP concentrations, the persulfate method had greater variability than the other three, with an average coefficient of variation (SD/mean) across all lakes of 0.31. The other three methods had a combined average coefficient of variation of only 0.038. Variability within the persulfate method increased with increasing organic content of the sediments suggesting that the method was ineffective in consistently oxidizing all organic-bound P to reactive PO4. No such pattern was observed with any of the other methods.