BC Liberal Critic for Children, Family Development and Childcare, Karin Kirkpatrick, sent a letter to the Minister of Children and Family Development, Mitzi Dean, calling on the NDP government to allow the carryover of any unused allowance of autism funding into the next contract year as many social services are unavailable now due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“The NDP already cut $225 per month in the Emergency Relief Support fund for children and youth with special needs last September, and now with this clawback of autism funding allowances, families who are disproportionately feeling the pain of the pandemic are facing additional hardship,” said Kirkpatrick. “The pandemic has made it worse for these marginalized families with decreased employment opportunities and the lack of available childcare services.”
She noted that in the report entitled “Left Out: Children and youth with special needs in the pandemic,” the Representative for Children and Youth highlighted the additional challenges families of children with special needs have faced during the pandemic. The report highlighted the NDP government’s lack of clear communication with families, the inability to approve funding promptly, and the increased burden on these families as they lost respite support and other vital services.
“We can’t let these families continue to struggle while their children lapse in continued development,” said Kirkpatrick. “The NDP government needs to listen to parents and the Representative for Children and Youth and ensure prompt and adequate support for children with autism by letting the funding rollover to next year.”