Jan 10, 2023, BC Northern Sentinel: New $25 million children and family support centre announced for Prince Rupert https://www.northernsentinel.com/news/new-25-million-children-and-family-support-center-announced-for-prince-rupert/
The North Coast Community Services Society (NCCS) is set to receive up to $25,301,820 over five years to operate a centralized support centre for children who have special needs out of Prince Rupert, as part of a provincial pilot program, the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) announced Jan. 9.
Services offered by the centre will include therapies and interventions for children, youth and their families, regardless of whether they have a diagnosis or referral, the Ministry of Children and Family Development stated in a press release. All children and youth, from newborns to 19-years-old will be able to access the services.
“The child and their family will have input into their wraparound care plan, which could include behaviour supports, physiotherapy, speech and occupational therapy, inclusive child care supports, child and youth care workers, family support, and education, as well as other important supports,” MCFD stated….
The Prince Rupert centre is one of just four locations in B.C. that are participating in the pilot. Two other locations in the northwest, Terrace/Kitimat and Bulkley Valley/Stikine will also be part of the program.
“North Coast Community Services Society will soon be able to provide new ways for families of children and youth with support needs to access more services,” North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice said….
The North Coast Community Services Society is still working to secure a space for the centre.
The province initially stated it would be opening 40 centres, however on Nov. 25, Premier David Eby announced a scale-back to only four pilot locations after a number of organizations voiced their concerns, including the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC).
Part of the plan for the centres was to use them to replace individualized funding for children with autism, which the UBCIC opposed in May 2022. They also cited a lack of proper engagement with First Nations.
Eby responded with the November announcement that the province will maintain individualized funding for children and youth with an autism diagnosis, including those who are diagnosed in the future.
The Ministry of Children and Family Development also noted throughout the pilot the province will consult with parents and caregivers, Indigenous Peoples, communities, experts and other stakeholders to understand how to build a better system.