Monday, October 26, 2009

Moms take on BC Liberals over funding cuts to vulnerable children - rallies on Wednesday October 28

I usually fill this blog space with my own writing on issues of concern but today I'm going to simply reprint a news release because I believe it is such an important issue that a small group of volunteers moms and others are taking up - the funding cuts the BC Liberal government is making to vulnerable children in our province.

Here's information I just received from Moms On The Move about a province-wide day of action on Wednesday October 28 against these cuts, including funding for autism programs.

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MOMS on the MOVE


Moms urge Premier to honour promises to BC’s kids

18 communities join provincial day of action against children’s cuts

OCT 28, 2009: — In 2001, Gordon Campbell promised to stand up for BC’s vulnerable children as a priority. Months later, he ordered 23% cuts to children’s programs. In 2005, the Premier outlined five Great Goals – #3 was to “build the best system of support in Canada” for children with special needs and those at risk.

But Mr. Campbell has again forgotten his promise to create a legacy of strong, safe and well-supported children.

So on Wednesday, Oct. 28, we’ve invited British Columbians to help us remind Premier Campbell of his promise to BC’s vulnerable children. So far, 18 BC communities have joined the Provincial Day of Action coordinated by MOMs, a volunteer support network for families of people with special needs.

While BC enjoyed record budget surpluses, waitlists for critical services that support vulnerable children in and out of school grew longer.

Now the Premier is cutting millions from core programs, including autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), mental health, infant development, supported child development and Aboriginal programs.

Specialized staff are being lost, with one program given just a month to wrap up. Front-line children’s agencies were forced to cut $3.6 million more.

A further $32 million is being cut from essential Ministry roles for monitoring, oversight and support to assure children’s welfare and safety. And yet another Ministry re-structuring will further strain the capacity to support vulnerable children.

There was no risk assessment or advance public discussion of these cuts. Apart from a token increase for one small sub-group (700 children with autism under age 6), savings will not reduce waitlists or improve access for the vast majority – i.e. for tens of thousands of children with special needs who are still waiting.

Provincial organizations for people with disabilities, children with special needs and families have protested the cuts.

Professionals represented by the Health Sciences Association of BC strongly denounced funding cuts and the loss of autism programs. Desperate parents have pleaded to save these programs, noting the huge strides their children have made and the strong evidence base for efficacy and long-term savings.

“The Infant Development Program is what saved me,” says Cyndi Gerlach, the mom coordinating a North Vancouver action on Oct. 28. “I want other parents to benefit just as I did.”

Premier Campbell’s cuts to children’s programs are just a matter of priorities. His revised budget commits $14 billion to capital projects. Alberta spends twice as much on autism despite fewer children and is not cutting programs despite a deficit twice as large as BC’s.

“Our children can’t speak out or fight back against these cuts,” says Cher Sherwood, the mom who helped organize several groups in Greater Victoria. “It is our job as parents and citizens to speak up for them.”

And it is Premier Campbell’s job to honour his promises to BC’s kids by protected and rebuilding vitally important supports and services.

“We know that British Columbians don’t want to see BC’s budget balanced on the back of our most vulnerable children,” says Vancouver mom Dawn Steele, who will be leading another group on the Burrard Bridge. “We’re urging him to join us by standing up and doing what he knows is the right thing to do.”

Details of local actions, local contacts, background info & updates: MOMs:


Gary L. said...

"But Mr. Campbell has again forgotten his promise to create a legacy of strong, safe and well-supported children".
A reasonable person would suggest that Mr. Campbell "forgets" nothing.
The writer is far too kind.


Anonymous said...

The sheer gluttony displayed by our so called elected officials is getting to be a bit much, the fawning they do over them selves and the perks that are taken by this bunch is nothing short of obscene. meanwhile children stay at risk perhaps even worse off than before our "Golden Era",
A million dollars on tickets for them selves!! for the olympics.
The news shows are a joke the papers (msm}.. print nothing about the deceit practised by this gang of crooks.
The ordinary people of this province mean nothing to this govt. unless you can grease their palms with a nice fat untraceable payoff to someone somwhere with bigger connections than a bunch of elderly or mentally ill or sick kids.
These cuts are more than just trimming programs they are inhuman.