Campaigns and Issues

‘Alone and Afraid’ Representative of Children and Youth Report

This week, the Representative of Children and Youth released their ‘Alone and Afraid: Lessons learned from the ordeal of a child with special needs and his family’ report. The report shared the story of a boy removed from his mother’s care in 2016. He had endured years of malnutrition and neglect, inadequate services to address his special needs, and little education or socialization.

The report includes 11 recommendations, including the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) leading a comprehensive assessment of the actual need for Children and Youth with Special Needs services across BC and the system’s capacity to meet those needs.  Several recommendations are directed to other ministries (Education and Health) .

Given the importance of timely early identification and intervention, First Call is disappointed to see the recommendation to decrease the wait times to three months for completed assessments of autism and complex behavioural developmental conditions across the province has a three year timeline.

Katrine Conroy, Minister of MCFD, issued a statement saying, “We accept the intent of each and every one of the representative’s recommendations, and there’s much more work we will do to address the challenges they highlight.”

The report’s findings were shared in many news outlets, including the National Post, Vancouver Sun, Globe and Mail, CBC News, and Times Colonist.