Former Executive Director Deryck Thompson made media headlines more than once for suggesting that many parents would benefit from training to gain skills and improve family life—a shocking idea in the 60s. He also participated in a pseudo-reality television show called ‘People in Conflict,’ in which actors would describe common family problems and a panel of experts would offer guidance. “Deryck was an iconic figure to young social workers,” said Barbara Brett, FSGV executive director, 1981-1996. “He focused his attention not only on leading the agency, but on advocacy and public education. He wrote letters to the editor and used the media to raise awareness about the importance of social services and the needs of families. He was very bright, capable and concerned about social issues; he didn’t have a narrow point of view, and was very well respected.” Deryck was one of the founders of the BC Association of Social Workers and its first president (as well as BC’s first registered social worker). During his years as ED, Family Services achieved many firsts such as decentralization of services into local areas, the establishment of a day care centre on Cordova Street, the Family Life Education Program, and the first independent Client Opinion Survey. Deryck’s pioneering work was recognized by the BC Association of Social Workers with a lifetime achievement award, as well as the Social Planning and Research Council of BC where he was awarded a lifetime membership.

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