Autism Support Network

Warning: CYSN New Funding Model Announcement


In late October, the provincial government announced an overhaul of the funding system serving children and youth with neuro-diverse special needs in British Columbia.   We have concerns with the “needs-based” Hub model with lack of information on logistics and funding.  But the biggest concern for families of autism is that the Hub model will include the phasing out of the Autism Funding Unit, an individualized funding model that allows parents to access evidence-based treatment

Watch the Nov 24 Rally on Facebook Live


What Else Can Parents Do?



Autism Support Network's Response Points


Write to your MLA and Minister Mitzie Dean ( Mitzi.Dean.MLA@leg.bc.ca). Cc Opposition MLA Karin Kirkpatrick (karin.kirkpatrick.MLA@leg.bc.ca) and ASN (admin@autismsupportbc.ca). You can use THIS TEMPLATE if you like.

Post your letter on social media

Send your letter to your local news paper

Sign the Consultation before Change petition

Share, Like and comment on the ASN Rally Event in Social media

Follow us on social media for updates: Facebook @autismsupportbc , Twitter @autismsupportbc and Instagram @autismsupportnetwork

Must keep Individualized Funding

The Autism Support Network, first and foremost, insists that Minister Dean allows parents to continue to have access to Behaviour Intervention Treatment through Individualized Funding.In this demand, there are a number of benefits to the current and future autism community and to the taxpayers in BC.

Maintaining Individual Funding for Treatment allows continuation of quality programs that parents have already set up for their children.  Families have expressed anxiety and worry that established behaviour intervention programs for their children will be taken away or significantly reduced if MCFD moves to a Hub model.  They need to know that their behaviour interventionists and BCBAs will be able to continue to work with their child in the home and in schools.  

We also want to ensure that future autism parents, who become research-based case managers of their own children, do not have to pay out of pocket for treatment because a hub navigator has decided the “need” is not there, OR because the hub navigator can only offer sub-par options within the Hub.  Hub navigators will be non-clinicians making decisions about medically necessary treatment.

The Individual Funding provided for Autism Treatment has allowed BC parents to build up the pool of autism and other developmental disabilities expertise in British Columbia, by creating a demand for quality service providers.  As well, moving to a series of “hubs” where the bulk of the funding gets eaten by bureaucracy will take away from direct treatment hours.

Autism Treatment should be in Health

The Autism Support Network also recommended the Ministry formally approach Cabinet for an order to transfer responsibility for autism treatment to the Ministry of Health Services (MOHS).  For many reasons including structural, philosophical and expertise, MCFD has struggled for years in the area of autism case management.  There is not the expertise within this social services ministry to make recommendations or direct parents to evidence based treatment services.

Moving the autism portfolio to the MOH would allow the provincial government to access additional funding through the Canada Health Transfer or other future negotiated health accords.  This will enable children and youth with autism to receive proactive treatment rather than reactive band aid measures.

Moving autism treatment to health will also take away transitioning issues as a child moves from MCFD to Education to CLBC.  For example, in some cases, social workers are not allowing behavior consultants to work with the school districts to maintain consistency between home and school simply because the funding of behaviour consultants is from MCFD and not Education.  If autism treatment were in health, treatment could take place wherever necessary in an individual's life. 

Will waitlists for assessment be replaced with waitlists for services?

With the proposed Hub model, waitlists for assessment will be replaced with waitlists for services.  This is already evident with Ontario’s similar Hub model.  Dr. Mike P. Moffet in Ontario tweets  “985 days into the new hub model there, the waitlist for services has grown from 23,000 to 50,000 children.” (https://odcoalition.com/2019/04/02/the-real-wait-list-minister-macleod-tells-over-50000-children-with-disabilities-in-ontario-to-wait-their-turn-2/ 

The solution is simple.  Allow access to behaviour intervention upon diagnosis and prescription from a psychiatrist or pediatrician.  They are better qualified to determine the needs of a child.  And then access to funding would be immediate without needing unqualified hub managers to intervene. 

History of Autism Funding

In the late 1990s, parents fought successive NDP and Liberal governments in the provincial and federal courts and advocated for their childrens’ rights to quality intervention when and where needed.  The Autism Funding Unit was created by the Liberal government in 2002 in response to parents who galvanized in BC and across the country to advocate for their children’s right to health care.   These parents and parents who had access to Individualised Funding through AFU over the next twenty years, have been integral in building up the pool of autism and other developmental disabilities expertise in British Columbia.  Unfortunately, these very parents and new parents alike , were not consulted when this Hub model was designed.

Why consult with the Autism Support Network Society

In 2007, the parent-led, Autism Support Network was established to support families with children with autism. Our past leaders and members helped shape the aforementioned supports that autistic children and youth can access in BC today. We have grown to become one of the most trusted non-profit organizations for autism in BC, helping over 1000 parents in crisis or new parents each year.  

The Autism Support Network Society (ASN) has heard many concerns from its community members about the lack of transparency, information, and consultation regarding the new policy and funding changes that will impact the autism community and the broader disability community.

NOTE: NOT ONE autism organization was involved in the designing of the new funding structure. This includes Autism BC, the BC Association of Behaviour Analysts and the Autism Support Network Society.

We provide efficient, effective, evidence-based recommendations and solutions with only the best outcomes for our children as our motivation and we expect consultation moving forward.  The government needs to provide services for all children and youth with neuro-diverse special needs in British Columbia but do not take away specific funding for children with autism. 

Parent Feedbacks

Jamie Peddle, Ontario parent: “I spoke with a lady named Kim today from the MCSS (MInistry of Children, Community and Social Services) intake regarding my son Jacob's file. She advised me that for my son to be enrolled into the NEW needs based program I would first have to get discharged from Erin oaks Kids (Centre for Treatment and Development) where Jacob would then receive $5000 and be put on the waiting list to get evaluated once his turn came around.

Read More

Teresa Armstrong, NDP MPP Ontario says in her letter to the Honorable Nerrilee Fullerton, Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) regarding Ontario’s revamped program: “It fails to beneeds based because it relies on non-clinicians to make funding decisions....”

https://twitter.com/TArmstrongNDP/status/1453473851078332418

Cassandra Lopez, former Ontario parent: “We were refused behaviour intervention within the Ontario hub system because the Case Manager decided our child was not ready for it. I came to BC, accessed direct funding through Autism Funding and ran a behaviour intervention program that dramatically improved my child’s potential. Four years after running the program in BC, Ontario finally contacted meto say that the child is now eligible for behaviour intervention”.