The province is offering financial help to parents with special needs children.
On Wednesday, the BC government announced its Emergency Relief Support Fund, which is designed to benefit children with special needs as well as their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new fund will provide a direct payment of $225 per month to eligible families until June 30.
The additional payment can be used to “purchase supports that help alleviate stress” such as meal preparation and grocery shopping assistance, homemaking services, counselling services, and caregiver relief support.
Katrine Conroy, the province’s Minister of Children and Family Development, said in a press release that the government is responding over concerns from families who have children with special needs.
“We want to help, so we’re offering these families emergency funding and allowing more flexibility in our supports. Our government is committed to helping make life a little easier during this unprecedented and very challenging time,” she said.
The province also announced additional support measures for families, such as waiving monthly maintenance payments during the pandemic for those with children that are in-care on a special needs or voluntary care agreement.
They have also expanded the parameters on services that can be purchased with autism funding, allowing families to use up to 35 percent of the funding to buy equipment and items that help with at-home learning. The At Home Program medical benefits will also be relaxed and families can continue to receive benefits without the need for a reassessment during the pandemic period.
Additionally, child development and aboriginal supported child development programs will have the ability to extend extra staffing during school hours.
The emergency funding will support 50 percent more of the eligible families that are currently awaiting services, according to the provincial government.
The press release added that the Emergency Relief Support Fund is sustained by a $900,000 investment from the government’s $5 billion COVID-19 Action Plan.