Children and Youth with Special Needs in B.C.

A joint letter from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Children and Family Development: April 14, 2020

Supporting Children and Youth with Special Needs during COVID-19 pandemic

Rob Fleming, Minister of Education, and Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development (MCFD), issued a joint letter on April 14, 2020. They recognized the “extraordinary challenges, uncertainty and stress”, that families with children with special needs are facing — since many vulnerable students get access to their needed support at school.

The letter outlines some of the supports you can access for your family during COVID-19:

  • Flexible Respite Funding: You can use your respite fund in more flexible ways. For example, during school hours for caregiver relief for siblings or the purchase homemaker services. Work with your Social Worker to build your support team during COVID-19.
  • Flexible Autism Funding: If your child receives Autism funding, there’s more flexibility on how you use it. Funding for equipment has increased from 20% to 35%. See the COVID-19 FAQ’s about Autism Funding and call Autism Funding Unit if you have questions.
  • Specific Learning Plan: Your child’s school team will develop a specific learning plan for your child that is aligned with the goals in your child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and in consultation with specialists who typically support your child at school.
  • One-to-One Support: If your child was receiving 1:1 supports in the classroom, connect with the school (teacher, resource teacher, or principal) to discuss the specific learning plan for your child.

The ministries are planning to meet with school authorities next week. They have promised to speak about school supports for students with disabilities, especially for vulnerable students who have unique needs and would benefit from in-person instruction.

Please see the complete letter: