Honourable John Horgan
Premier of British Columbia
West Annex, Parliament Buildings Victoria, B.C.
Honourable Mitzi Dean
Minister of Children & Family Development
Room 134, Parliament Buildings
Dear Premier Horgan & Minister Dean,
We are writing to you today to express our significant concerns with your government’s planned changes to the service delivery model that provides support for neurodiverse children, including your decision to abandon individualized autism funding and the AT Home Program.
Your government’s lack of consultation with parents of autistic and neurodiverse children, as well as other autism advocates, has left many people throughout our province frustrated and worried about the impacts of this policy change.
Our BC United Caucus has heard from countless parents and advocates who are heartbroken that you intend to replace a system that is currently working well for so many families in the province. While it is clear that there are gaps in the current system, those should be remedied by enhancing the existing system with additional supports, increased funding for neurodiverse children, and more professionals trained throughout B.C. The solution is not to abandon a system that is working well for so many families.
We are hearing over and over again that the hub model will simply not work for these parents. It takes autonomy and choice away from families and will result in a decline in services for many. The lack of certainty facing their children’s futures has caused serious anxiety and has forced many to relive trauma. For some, they have shared that your government’s announcement has been more traumatizing than even the original diagnosis of their children.
While it is important that government works to provide support for more families, it is imperative that new services and supports do not come at the expense of autistic children and the current model.
On behalf of the worried parents, advocates, and service providers who have reached out and engaged with our BC United Caucus, we ask that you reverse the decision to end individualized autism funding and properly consult about the appropriate path forward, one that will benefit and support all families with neurodiverse children. As one parent expressed to us, “nothing about us, without us,” with regards to the need to consult with them.
People deserve so much better than this.
I look forward to your swift response as we work to best serve the interests of all British Columbians who will be impacted by your intended changes.
Interim Leader of the Official Opposition
MLA, Prince George-Valemount
Opposition Critic for Children, Family Development, & Childcare
MLA, West Vancouver-Capilano