BC families losing access to services

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PAOV — Petition starter Jen is demanding BC’s government stop all planned changes to the province’s autism therapy funding. The government plans to end all direct funding to families within the next four years, replacing the current individual funding model with a “hub” system that will interrupt or end access to personalized treatment for many families. If you think that the government should continue their current autism therapy funding model, sign the petition now.

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20,614 have signed Jen Biddlecombe’s petition. Let’s get to 25,000!

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As a mother of an Autistic son, I am standing up for our children’s rights to access mental and physical therapies for Autism, Down Syndrome, and any disabling conditions as should be granted to them by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms section 15. As caregivers our voices should be heard when it comes to decisions such as ones like this that so greatly disrupt and impact our children’s already challenging lives.

The BC Government has announced that the Autism Funding Program and many other programs under the MCFD’s umbrella will be replaced with the Hub Model like Ontario. All funding previously given will be cut off by 2025. In this model the already established relationships with service providers will be effectively cut off for all families who cannot afford to pay out of pocket to continue them. Just one example of economic disparity that will emerge between low-income diverse families, families on reserve, ESL Families, and many others.

The service providers, SLP, Counselling, OT, BC and BI’s whom we have vetted and trusted in coming into our homes and helping us guide our children to a path of success will be stripped away. Overnight many service providers, small business owners, effectively will have their business’s taken away as many families will not be able to continue paying for therapies. Years of relationships and trust, vetting, hiring, and inviting these people into our homes to become a part of our family.

Not only was there no consultation with parents or service providers but also none with any of the Autism organizations here in BC who have been working with 1000’s of families for years. Autism BC & Autism Support Network Society represent 80% of CYSNs current case load. These non-profit networks have been guiding parents through an incredibly difficult and personal journey into finding the assistance their children need to thrive.

As a parent of an autistic child who has already had the world basically turned upside down for their family will now once again be thrown another roadblock in the way of getting our children the services, equipment and support those years of Research has proven to be effective in helping them navigate their style of learning.

What Do We Want?

Individual Autism Funding and the AT Home Program should remain in place for all that have it and those services should go uninterrupted for as long as needed. Full Consultation with Parents, Service Providers and Autism BC for developing an informed plan for a new system to phase into that is fair, transparent and covers things like equipment and other specialty needs.

Service centers and providers dedicated to Northern Parts of BC to ensure access to care not limited to virtual services. Creation of the hub model to provide the first contact, barrier free starting point for all families. Create a system and model that is not limited to one hub per location to allow greater capacity and diversity in program models/focus.

Investing in increasing availability and service provider capacity for diagnostic assessment. Incentives for entering these specialty work forces. More classes in university and colleges to train providers.

Small Business tax breaks for setting up practices in these fields, specifically in remote regions. Leaving the Autism Funding in place and expanding the individualized funding program to include other diagnosis’, Down Syndrome, Intellectual Disabilities, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deafblind, Blind & Partially Sighted, Cerebral Palsy, Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia and ADHD and so many more.

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