Controversial change in funding British Columbia services

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11 Nov 2021, 9:58 am

’No faith’: B.C. autism community says they can’t support funding changes without consultation

Quote:
A recently announced change for how children with autism access provincially funded support has parents and advocacy groups scrambling for answers.

Elena Lawson’s six-year-old son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in 2018. Since then, he has received individualized funding from the Ministry of Children and Family Development that has made a world of difference in his behaviour.

Under the current program, families with children under six can receive up to $22,000 per year and up to $6,000 a year for children over six.

But a newly proposed hub model to support children with disabilities will see autism funding phased out by 2025 and replaced with community hubs where families can access needs-based support. Families currently receiving individualized funding will be migrated over to the hub system by 2025.

The move has been criticized widely by the autism community and is seen as a clawback of existing supports. But the province has said the new model will continue to provide care for families in their own communities and expand access to thousands of children who currently receive no support.

The ministry said the hub network will support approximately 8,300 more children with diverse conditions such as fetal alcohol syndrome, Down Syndrome and brain injuries.

“I don’t think the hubs are going to work for many parents. Our team comes into our home and they’re a team that we’ve had since 2018. My son has built trust with them, he considers them his friends. To then go to a hub where I don’t know who will determine how much time he gets, what services he gets, who he gets, is just not acceptable.”

Lawson’s concerns were echoed in a joint letter signed by eight B.C. autism support organizations calling for meaningful consultation from the ministry with detailed information on how the new model will work.

AutismBC president Kaye Banez spoke to Black Press Media after an information session with the ministry. Banez said it was “certainly not a consultation” and “hardly informative.”

The ministry will hold information sessions for families and service providers from Nov. 29 to early December. Ministry staff will be present to answer technical questions.


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Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman