Hundreds of families left in limbo as autism funding chaos continues under Eby

VANCOUVER (January 20, 2023) – Following widespread backlash, Premier Eby in December reversed the autism funding clawback and committed to working collaboratively with all partners. But as it turns out, the chaos hasn’t stopped as providers who are not part of the NDP’s new pilot projects in four B.C. communities are now losing their contracts, potentially leaving hundreds of families in need with no continuum of support.

“This is the same old NDP that never truly engaged in meaningful consultation with the autism community, and they are once again creating uncertainty and anxiety for these vulnerable families,” said Karin Kirkpatrick, BC Liberal Shadow Minister for Childcare and Autism. “Children with support needs rely on the established and trusted relationships their families have spent years building with their current service providers, such as Starbright Children’s Development Centre, which has served the Okanagan for 57 years. Its closure due to the funding cut from the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) will be devastating for families and the providers who are dedicated to helping them.”

The BC Association for Child Development and Intervention has also voiced serious concerns about the government’s inadequate and inappropriate procurement approach, calling on David Eby’s NDP to work with existing contract holders on the transition.

“This change affects not only the Okanagan, but all communities where the NDP’s pilot family connection centres will operate, as families will have less choice for services. With no transition plan in place and no information from MCFD, everyone involved is worried about their future,” added Kirkpatrick. “I urge Premier Eby to keep his promise to listen to families, and develop an equitable system for all children and youth with support needs.”

With service providers going out of business, Kirkpatrick also noted the risk of families having nowhere to turn to should the NDP’s pilot sites fall short in delivering support, which will only create further disruption to the lives of those in need.