We’re all currently volunteers running the show at BCEdAccess. In that context, rather than write something separate, we’re sharing the Twitter thread from Executive Director Tracy Humphreys verbatim, as a statement regarding the out of context quote in the Legislature today.
“I happened to be listening to Question Period in the Legislature today. I heard Minister @MitziDeanBC quote some of what I said on @CBContheisland about the planned changes to the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s approach to Children and Youth with Support Needs. 1/~ I was quoted saying that families without current access to supports and services through CYSN are thrilled. What I said was that SOME families are thrilled. This is an accurate statement. What she didn’t share is that I ALSO said many families are anxious about the changes. 2/~
This interview was the day after the announcement was made. Families were still digesting the news and had not had much time to learn more details about the changes – what these new hubs would look like, how they would work. 3/~ I too am a parent. I’m autistic, I have ADHD, and I have 3 children with the same disabilities. I have been in the position of not having access to any supports for two of my children because their autism diagnosis took many years. 4/~ I have also been able to use individualized autism funding to access support for my children.
While @BCEdAccess is an education advocacy group, over the last couple of years especially, we have gotten involved in a lot of other issues that also affect our children and youth. 5/~ This is because children and youth with and without disabilities don’t live in silos, these different systems affect them all in overlapping ways. They matter. And their voices and the voices of their parents matter. 6/~
Within all of these different areas, we will always advocate for equitable access to services and supports for all children and youth (and adults) with disabilities and complex needs, without barriers. 7/~ We will question anything in plans that appear as though they may not serve equity or that will put up barriers to access. And we will always push in the direction of change to bring greater equity. 8/~
The move to eliminate barriers to access supports is an important one. But parents – including me – have questions. Why wait 3 years to provide access to everyone? Why not open that up right now through individualized funding, using the already existing model? 9/~ Another question – why the lack of choice once hubs are in place? This model, like the bricks and mortar, typical classroom, will not work for all families. I am sure government is receiving hundreds, maybe thousands of letters explaining why. 10/~ The message was recieved that families need flexiblity, which is why they are making the flexible use of respite funding permanent. This is wonderful news. Why not extend that learning about the need for flexibility to how families want to access services for their children? 11/~
I want to add that I’m always grateful to be able to share what families are saying that their children and youth with disabilities need, with those who have the power to make things better. I’m not there to be a seal of approval though. #bcpoli 12/~ I truly believe the elected MLAs all want to make things better for people living in BC. Systems are big and complex and it’s kind of like trying to turn an aircraft carrier. It takes time. And we have been begging for change!
13/~ But some of what I have been hearing in the Legislature this week, on both sides of the aisle, make it clear to me that MLAs are not fully informed on how these systems work and what children and their families are experiencing. 14/~ I don’t know if we need a different kind of approach to consultation. But l do know that right now nearly every family I am hearing from, and we have about 4100 of them just in our online Facebook community, are saying that they do not feel heard. 15/~
This isn’t just about CYSN. It’s about education. It’s about health. It’s about CLBC. It’s about poverty. It’s about government operating in silos even among their own Ministries, let alone siloing the public out of conversations that impact them. 16/~ Minister @MitziDeanBC, I know you care about these children, youth and families and want to make their lives easier and better. Please consider a quick response to the urgent needs of unsupported kids, and take the time to listen to families about a good approach for the future./”