Children of the Street Society was founded in 1995, when a group of parents united after being affected by a child being at-risk of, or drawn into the sex trade in the Lower Mainland.
Recognizing that this tragic occurrence can happen to any child in the community, Children of the Street Society began providing a series of prevention workshops aimed at educating children and youth to prevent young people from being drawn into the sex trade.
Over the years, the Society's workshops expanded to educate parents, caregivers, teachers, service providers, police, government, community agencies, and the hospitality industry.
As a result of increased community awareness throughout the province of British Columbia about the issue of sexual exploitation, a greater need for support was identified, which Children of the Street Society offers to youth, parents and caregivers.
Since its inception, Children of the Street Society has worked with the provincial government to implement changes to the Child, Family and Community Service Act around the issue of sexual exploitation, as well as on a Federal level resulting in amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada. We advocated for many years to bring changes to the Canadian Criminal Code, which resulted in new legislation in 2008, raising the legal age of sexual consent in Canada from 14 to 16 years old.
In 2019, Children of the Street joined forces with PLEA Community Services. Children of the Street and all of its programs now operate under PLEA.
Children of the Street, its programs, and staff have been recognized in the community for numerous achievements in preventing sexual exploitation. Some key awards include:
2013 – UROC Asset Champions 2013, TCO² Program
2010 – British Columbia Association of Broadcasters Humanitarian Award, Predator Watch
2009 – YMCA Women of Distinction Awards Nominee, Diane Sowden
2009 – Diane Sowden featured in documentary, Executive Produced by George Clooney
2009 & 2008 – City of Vancouver Youth Awards, Children of the Street Society & TCO² Program
2009 & 2008 – Tri-City Youth R.E.A.C.H. Awards, Children of the Street Society & TCO² Program
2008 – Solicitor General Crime Prevention and Community Safety Award, Diane Sowden
2001 – Soroptimist International of the Americas Woman of Distinction Award, Diane Sowden
1998 – Anthony J. Hulme Award of Distinction, Ministry of Attorney General, Diane Sowden