Media release re Pacific Autism Centre Society announcement on the location for the Pacific Autism Family Centre and provincial government’s commitment of up to $20 million towards capital costs of the project.

Moms on the Move

…The Premier’s original commitment was made with no advance public consultation or public policy rationale provided by any provincial ministry that deals with autism. The Ministry for Children and Families, which has primary responsibility for delivering autism services, has never consulted with families or professionals, instead advising stakeholders to team up with the PAFC proponents, whom the Province has charged with developing plans for the new centre. The strategic plans for PAFC would see the centre taking over responsibility for all autism services currently managed by the Ministries of Children, Health, Education and CLBC.

The proponents continue to promise that they will fundraise privately to cover the new centre’s operating costs, but Ministry briefing documents obtained by MOMS last summer outlined Provincial plans to fold existing autism programs and their budgets (POPARD, ACT and BCAAN – the currently decentralized provincial autism assessment and diagnostic network) into PAFC to help offset the centre’s anticipated operating costs. Ministry staff warned in the briefing notes that this was this would erode existing services and lengthen waitlists for children, but nevertheless advised that senior Ministry staff participate in helping to shape the Cocchias’ business plan for PAFC, since it would be happening anyway.

Just two weeks ago, top-level MCFD staff responsible for services for children and youth with special needs assured MOMS in a provincial conference call that to their knowledge the PAFC proposal had been shelved.

But other reports show that Premier Campbell has personally continued to advance the project outside of the regular ministry channels and made it clear to high level ministry staff that he wanted the project confirmed before he left office….