BC Family Survey: Presented to the Ministry of Children and Family Development

CHART: What do you need right now during the pandemic?

BC Families Need Flexibility, Financial Support, and Clarity

We hear regularly from families who struggle with accessing funding and services for programs offered through the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) as well as other programs. With the extra pressures caused by COVID-19, there has been an increase in advocacy calls to all of our organizations with regard to Children and Youth with Special Needs (CYSN) funding.

Inclusion BCFamily Support InstituteBC Parents of Complex Kids, and BCEdAccess worked together to produce the COVID-19 BC Family Survey which we released last week. Over 1,000 families responded within 2 1/2 days, Thank You! We presented the survey results to Minister Conroy and MCFD on Tuesday, April 27, 2020.

The report shows how B.C. families are accessing, or not, emergency pandemic funding and/or services for their children or youth with disabilities. We presented our findings to Minister Conroy and her MCFD team earlier this week. Now we are sharing them with you.

Top three needs for families dealing with COVID-19:

  • Flexibility: Flexibility in the use of funding (school-age therapy, autism funding, behavioural consultant, counselling) – 60.6%
  • Financial Support: To cover expenses associated with my child’s disability 35.6%
  • Clarity: To know if I am eligible for any pandemic supports – 57.8%;  and to provide clarity on how respite funds may be used – 39.2%

Our recommendations to the Ministry of Children and Family Development:

  1. Flexible Use of Funding
    Provide broad flexibility in the use of funds families receive through different CYSN programs during the pandemic, following a family-centred approach.
  2. Financial Support – $525 per month
    Support the resilience of families by easing their financial burden. Provide $525 per month (to be used at the family’s discretion) for the next 3 months to support families to stay strong and together.
  3. Clear Communications
    • Provide clear, written guidelines on emergency pandemic measures and supports.
    • Ensure effective, clear, and responsive communication from social workers.
    • Publish explicit health and safety protocols based on recommendations from the Public Health Officer to allow families to access in-person supports.
  4. Support those excluded from CYSN
    Recognize the many families of children and youth with disabilities left out of the CYSN funding structure and provide them with financial and other types of support during the pandemic.
  5. Child Opportunity Benefit
    Work in collaboration with the Ministries of Finance and Social Development and Poverty Reduction to introduce the Child Opportunity Benefit earlier – May 1, 2020.

Survey Details: Who did we ask, and how? 
This survey was distributed to our networks via email newsletter and across social media. It ran from 3:00 pm on Thursday, April 23, 2020, to midnight on Saturday, April 25, 2020. 1,055 B.C. parents and guardians of children and youth with disabilities/special needs responded to the survey. These parents and guardians are from every region served by MCFD.

See the complete report: