Award for Excellence in Advancement of Child Felfare


Burnaby, BC, October 28, 2014 – On Saturday, October 25th, Parent Support Services Society of BC awarded the prestigious Bill McFarland Award for the Excellence in the Advancement of Child Welfare* to Dr. Allison Rees and LIFE Seminars.

Allison Rees is co-author of two books (Sidestepping the Power Struggle and The Parent Child Connection), and has been providing parenting education and support through LIFE Seminars for over 30 years. Allison trains and coaches volunteers who facilitate the small group discussions in the 8 week seminar series. Allison has been featured as an expert on various television programs and was the co-host of the Island Parent Radio Show for many years. She is a regular contributor to a number of Vancouver Island periodicals.

One of nominators of Dr. Allison Rees stated, “Parents are the leaders of the family and first teachers for all children. What children learn through LIFE Seminars stays with them for a lifetime and informs everything they do…right through to the way they will parent their own children.”

LIFE Seminars allow “parents to understand the natural temperament of their child(ren) – as well as their own! This is not a program that points fingers or helps parents figure out how to “fix” their children. This work guides parents through the journey of raising their children in a conscious, responsible and loving way.”

Presenting the award, President of PSS Cyrus Sy stated that the Board committee saw clearly that Dr. Allison Rees and LIFE Seminars “have indeed made a lasting mark in the area of child welfare and family preservation.” He shared another quote from the nomination letter: “If there is a word … to describe Dr Allison Rees, it would be – Empowering. She can see the strengths in others and has an incredible way of helping them see that in themselves. Not only does she bring out the best in people, she provides a place to share their experience and grow into the best version of themselves.”

In attendance for the presentation of the award was BC Education Minister, Peter Fassbender, MLAs George Heyman, Jane Shin, and volunteers and supporters of PSS. The award was presented at PSS’s 40th Annual General Meeting.

The other main highlight of the evening was the preview of PSS video project, “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: Telling Our Stories”. This video project profiles grandparents, who unexpectedly find themselves raising their grandchildren – full time. PSS Executive Director Carol Ross states, “The grandparents in the film speak candidly of their struggles and joys and the isolation and misunderstanding they face. Their stories are powerful and compelling and we hope the final film will change hearts, minds and policies The grandparents we work with, asked us to help them tell their stories, and they felt a video was the best way to help others understand their lives.”

*The Bill McFarland Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Child Welfare was named after Bill McFarland. Bill was an advocate for children throughout his life and social work career. His achievements include: founder of the Alberta Foster Parents Association, the National Federation of Youth in Care Networks, and Parent Support Services Society of BC

In addition, he was a member of the Berger Commission, a consultant to the Gove Inquiry, and a recognized expert on the Young Offenders Act. Bill was appreciated by all who worked with him for his integrity, compassion and tireless efforts toward the care and welfare of all children. This award honours his memory and his tireless efforts for the care and welfare of all children.

Previous recipients include: Carrie Gelson; Marsha Early; Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond; Joyce Preston; Delores Romano; BC Association of Family Resource Programs and Fran Grunberg.

 For more information about the Bill McFarland Award and the upcoming GRG video, visit our website: