British Columbia is retracting plans to scrap individualized funding for children with an autism diagnosis, a proposal that had sparked criticism from parents.
The announcement comes after Premier David Eby and Mitzi Dean, minister of children and family development, met with members of the group AutismBC and other stakeholders, including the First Nations Leadership Council and B.C.’s representative for children and youth.
Eby says the government will maintain individualized funding instead of phasing it out in 2025, under a plan announced in October 2021.
Eby and Dean say the government is committed to “engaging in deeper consultation” with parents, caregivers and others.
Julia Boyle, executive director of AutismBC, says in a statement that parents will be “incredibly relieved” to keep direct autism funding and service providers who already support their children.
B.C. was planning to open 40 so-called family connections centres, or hubs, to provide services, instead of directly funding parents, but that has been paused with the exception of four pilot locations.
Families of children with autism have said they would have lost funding of up to $22,000 a year until children turned six, then $6,000 annually to age 18.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2022.