ACT is receiving many concerned messages from families and professionals following the publication of our recommendations to the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Ministry of Social Development. We are being asked for advice on how to advocate on a system-wide basis so that all citizens with special needs receive the support they need. More able members of our community are concerned that we are unlikely to hear from vulnerable families and adults living independently who are not able to advocate for themselves but are most at risk.
There are many ways to advocate constructively, which is our right and our duty as citizens of a democracy:
- Concerned individuals can write Mitzi Dean, the Minister for the MCFD and voice concerns. Her email address is: MCF.Minister@gov.bc.ca. For those whose children are adults, they can write Shane Simpson, the Minister for Social Development and Poverty Reduction SDPR.Minister@gov.bc.ca. Explain how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting you and your family and why increased funding and more flexibility in spending specialized funding like At-Home Respite and Autism Funding would help you keep yourself and your children safe during this crisis.
- If advocates copy their emails to ACT at firstname.lastname@example.org, we will compile them as part of a report we are doing on parental concerns at the lack of responsiveness from MCFD [as of March 26th, MSDPR is beginning to communicate via Community Living BC]. We will not make identifying information public.
- A complimentary advocacy route is for family members, concerned professionals and self-advocates to contact their MLA’s, by email or telephone and express their concerns for themselves and other members of the special needs/ neuro-diverse community. Here is how to find your MLA: www.leg.bc.ca/learn-about-us/members. Again, ACT would appreciate being copied on emails.
- If you would prefer not to identify yourself directly to government, you can send your emails to ACT at email@example.com and we will add them to the report we are doing. We will protect privacy.
- Parents can also post their concerns on ACT’s Facebook page. www.facebook.com/AutismCommunityTraining
- ACT will be continually updating our COVID-19 page which has links to the webpages for relevant ministries. Check on the latest information before writing your letters.
- Review ACT’s March 18 letter, Recommendations for MCFD and MSD to support individuals with disabilities and their families during the COVID-19 emergency.
- Join ACT’s confidential email list so that we can reach you with new information.