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B.C. children’s representative urges immediate help for children with special needs

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s independent children’s representative says too many youngsters with special needs are being shortchanged by government support and assistance programs. 

Jennifer Charlesworth says thousands of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, Down syndrome and a wide range of other neurocognitive developmental needs receive little or no support from the province.

She says families need immediate help and wants Premier David Eby to provide equitable resources to support children with special needs.

Eby recently announced the government will drop its plan to phase out individualized funding for B.C. children diagnosed with autism.

The premier said the decision to keep individualized funding came after recent meetings with parents, caregivers, Indigenous groups, child rights organizations and experts who lobbied the government about losing supports for children.

Charlesworth says maintaining individualized autism funding is vital, but is only one part of a larger issue where a wider range of children also need help. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2022.

The Canadian Press