Saturday, May 9, 2015

Services for parents of children with autism raised by MLA during Committee session

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice
raised issues on autism services in a
Committee session on Monday
An issue close to the hearts of many in Prince Rupert found its way into the discussion during a Committee session in the British Columbia Legislature this week, as North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice sought out further information on the delivery of services for families that require assistance with children with autism in the region.

Ms. Rice was participating in the Monday afternoon proceedings of the Committee of Supply for the Ministry of Children and Development, a session which explored a number of issues related to service delivery for a range of items related to the Ministry.

As part of her line of questions for Minister Stephanie Cadieux, the North Coast MLA spoke to the tragic passing of Angie and Robert Robinson one year ago, seeking clarification on some statements of the Minister at the time.

" I wanted to ask the minister in regards to Angie and Robert Robinson, who tragically died a year ago in Prince Rupert. I know she knows the case well and will probably not comment to specifics. Last April, in regards to this case, the minister had been quoted in a few media outlets as saying that there were 11 professionals that provide autism services in Prince Rupert. My first question is: could she provide a list of what those 11 service providers are?"

Minister Stephanie Cadieux responding
to questions during Monday
committee session
The Minister did not have the requested background available for the Committee session, but noted that she would have the information provided to the MLA for her review.

Ms. Rice followed up on the them with some thoughts on the challenges that local families are having in accessing the services, noting for the Minister of a recent presentation from Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, the province's representative for Children and Youth

"The minister also said at the time that while the deaths are tragic, it's up to families to work with their social worker to ensure they're getting all the services "they're both entitled to and need for their child." One issue that we've identified in the north and that the Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, has said — and what I've found — particularly for the north region, is that those resources are scarce, if existent at all. 

The challenge I'm trying to identify here is perhaps: if you are provided the funding for autism supports for your child, where are the services that match with that funding? My question is: what has she done to review this, to look at what services are available in the north, particularly in Prince Rupert, on this?"

Minister Cadieux reminded the North Coast MLA that an inquest is currently underway regarding the deaths of Ms. Robinson and her son Robert, adding that the Director is conducting a further review in relation to the specific services and other related matters.

The full overview of the session provides for a helpful glimpse into some of the conversations and concerns that MLA's and Government officials are dealing with, as they seek to deliver services in one of the key areas of provincial matters and concern.

You can review the minutes from the session here with an video presentation available from the Committee Video archive noted in the Monday afternoon section.

Ms. Rice's comments are archived at the 16:00 mark.

For more items related to work in the Legislature see our archive page here.

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