As we get closer to the beginning of a new school year, which falls on Tuesday, September 2nd, parents of children with special needs have a lot to think about. The labour dispute that has led to the BC teachers’ strike is still ongoing, and is not yet resolved.
What does this mean for children with special needs?
Did you know that there are over 50,000 BC schoolchildren who have special needs? During the summer months, while classes are not in session, Supported Childcare Development (SCD) funding is provided by the Ministry of Child and Family Development to supplement regular childcare fees for children who require additional support. Families had been informed that funding would run out in September, when the responsibility would normally shift back to the Ministry of Education as the children would be in school receiving support services from teachers and educational assistants.
For some families, the implications of a late and unspecified start-up are devastating. Depending on the level of support needed, costs can be as high as $3,200 per month per child. To learn more about what this situation could mean for parents, check out this CTV article and video here: http://bc.ctvnews.ca/teachers-strike-could-financially-devastate-families-with-special-needs-kids-1.1970464.
What’s the latest news?
On August the 25th, the Ministry of Children and Family Development announced that if the labour disruption continues into September, they will provide SCD funding to cover in-school hours for families with special needs children who are currently accessing services. All contracted agencies who deliver those services are being informed now.
(Please note that posAbilities children’s life skills service is not impacted by the teacher’s strike as it has a different funding source.)
Alternatives for Families
Check out this blog post by The Province newspaper which lists programming in various communities that will take place during school hours if the strike continues into the new school year.
If your family would like to participate in a potluck picnic to meet up with others and to socialize with the kids, please contact us by calling 604-299-4001 or email [email protected] . We can take it from there once we know who is interested.