In October 2021, the B.C. government released a series of announcements and updates related to children’s services in our province. Inclusion BC will continue our efforts to ensure families have access to the information they need to navigate a very complex and confusing shift in services for children and youth in our province. We will continue evaluating information as it becomes available using the values and guiding pillars of the Kids Can’t Wait campaign to guide our advocacy.
Frequently Asked Questions
On December 21, 2021, the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) initiated a Frequently Asked Questions – Family Connection Hubs section on their website to answer questions from families, communities, sector partners and service providers on the family connections hubs.
A previous list of frequently asked questions covering information about the changes to Children and Youth with Support Needs (CYSN) that was shared by MCFD on November 16, 2021, can be found here.
Family connection hubs information sessions
Families, service providers, and sector partners wanting to learn more about the transition to family connections hubs, changes to Child and Youth with Support Needs (CYSN), and ask questions are invited to join an online information session in December 2021.
Registration is now open for information sessions about the family connection hubs.
Attend an online session and ask the Ministry of Children and Family Development your questions. A list of online session dates and the link to register can found here.
Child and Youth with Support Needs
On October 27, 2021, the Honourable Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development, announced a move toward a needs-based system of supports for children and youth with support needs and their families. A few details about the changes are listed at the end of the announcement in a backgrounder section. Included is the continuity of flexible use of respite care funding, the needs-based model, the one-stop family connection hubs, and a transition timeline.
Here is the information available about the family connection hubs that covers what is changing, how the change will affect families, how the hubs will work and the types of services available, as well as the next steps. Families wanting to know what to expect during the change to family connection hubs can learn about the gradual changes between now and the spring of 2025. For service providers assisting children and youth with support needs the site covers how they can support families to transition to the family connection hubs and how to join the new service approach.
The At Home Program
On October 25, 2021, Minister Dean also announced a $10 million funding increase to medical equipment benefits through the At Home Program. This is welcomed news for families of children with complex care needs who require medical equipment. Starting in April 2022, families will be eligible to receive greater financial support to buy specialized equipment.
Inclusive child care
As part of Childcare BC, the provincial child care 10-year plan the Ministry of State for Child Care released the Inclusive Child Care website. The website introduces the Inclusive Child Care Toolkit and CanAssist’s toileting initiatives. These resources have been developed to support quality, inclusive practices in child care settings throughout British Columbia.
Seamless Day program expansion
On October 18, 2021, the Honourable Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education, announced the expansion of the Seamless Day Kindergarten pilot program. The number of school sites joining the pilot program is moving from four to 25, with the full list of school districts shared in the announcement.
Inclusion BC considers the potential benefits these changes can offer to support children and youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, should they be adequately funded.
Our submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance for the 2022 Budget shares:
“Since 2019, the Ministry of Children and Family Development has been working on the development of the Service Framework for Children and Youth with Support Needs (CYSN). While it is encouraging the changes that this framework might bring, it is of critical importance to fund it adequately to meet the needs of children and youth with support needs and their families, at updated costs for services.
Increased investment with clear transparency measures in its allocation is imperative. The ongoing negligence and denial of investment in CYSN has left families feeling invisible and ignored. This should not be allowed to continue.”
You can listen to the presentation of our recommendations to the Select Standing Committee on Finance (starting at 11:22:56 a.m.), find an overview of our recommendations on the Inclusion BC blog, or view the full Invest in Inclusion submission sent to the Select Standing Committee.