B.C.’s major autism support group says it’s fearful for children and families after the Ministry of Children and Family Development announced it’s ending its contract.
For the last dozen years, Autism Community Training has been seen by many families with autistic children as the place to go to for support, but the MCFD has announced plans it is taking over much of its work.
Executive Director Deborah Pugh says ACT has been a valuable resource for many families with children on the autism spectrum who are fearful asking for help from a ministry that also puts children into care.
“We’ve always tried to be the interface between saying ‘let us help you get those services — we’ll make the call, [we] know that what you’re asking isn’t unreasonable, no we don’t think you’ll be punished for asking for this and having something else removed.'”
Pugh says many families don’t want to deal directly with the government, but is concerned that’s something the ministry appears blind to.
“Sometimes we have that situation, and what I’m saying that in the case of government ministries they don’t see it – people who work within those systems – don’t see it that way because they work within that system.”
The MCFD says it is “bringing those support services back in-house to meet the increasing demand, and cost of services.”
Pugh says ACT will now have to fundraise to continue its training services for families living with autism.