(November 26, 2022 – New Westminster, B.C.) The Family Support Institute (FSI) is pleased and celebrates the announcement from Premier David Eby to extend autism funding past 2025, overturning past decisions to halt the funding to over 23,000 families in B.C.
This decision will bring relief and ease angst to thousands of families across B.C. who have been confused, angry and left wondering what support for their family members would look like past January 2025.
The commitments made today by Premier Eby and Minister of Child and Family Development Mitzy Dean include the following elements:
- The maintenance of individualized funding for families of children with an autism diagnosis from the present and after 2025, including those who are diagnosed in the future;
- An engagement process co-designed by First Nations leadership and leaders from the disability community in partnership with the government;
- A pause on the rollout of B.C.’s plan to establish a network of family connections centres. The four pilot regions will still be rolled out, but a robust evaluation will take place, and learning from those pilots will be applied to plans;
- New investments in the interim, as the new system is being developed to support children with disabilities and support needs currently underserved, including fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities.
“This decision is very welcome news,” says Executive Director of FSI, Angela Clancy.
“We know that families rely on flexibility and choice and that all options need to be on the table to accommodate the individual needs of each unique family. Today’s announcement will also enable more voices to be heard, more time to listen deeply, and for individuals and families to breathe a bit easier knowing that the premier has been listening even before coming into this role. We will be pleased to be a part of this engagement and support families to have their voices heard along the way. We still have much work to do to ensure this Ministry has services and supports that are responsive, culturally safe and trauma-informed, which have been pain points identified for many, many years.”
“Every child in B.C. should have the supports they need to thrive,” said Premier Eby.
“We are focused on listening to families of children and youth with support needs. We will work with all partners to ensure our services work for every child.” Dean said: “Our focus is on ensuring children and youth have the supports they need to thrive. I look forward to working collaboratively with our partners to build a province where services are provided that meet the unique needs of all children and youth.”
This announcement was made just one week after David Eby was sworn into the premier’s office. It is also almost twoyears after the Ministry of Child and Family Development announced the sunset of autism funding and moved to the Family connection Centre model. This announcement demonstrates Eby’s commitment to individuals, families, and community engagement. FSI applauds this bold move and
is very eager to work in collaboration with the Ministry of Child and Family Development, the Premier of B.C. and all families across the province to support a new co-developed model that will benefit everyone.
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About Family Support Institute of BC:
The Family Support Institute (FSI) supports families who have family members with disabilities and mental health challenges. FSI is unique in Canada and is the only grass-roots, family-to-family support organization. FSI believes families are the best resource to support one another and the most vital voice for their family members. FSI supports all families with children of all ages, disabilities, and concurrent conditions. FSI’s supports are free to any family.
Family Support Institute of BC
227 6th Street
New Westminster, BC