To all of you who use ACT services or contribute to the autism community,
After 12 years of service to BC families, I am sorry to share that the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) has decided not to renew ACT’s contract. Although ACT’s proposal was acknowledged to be the strongest, MCFD’s Request for Proposals issued in August was cancelled earlier this month. Becoming an independent entity will require ACT to restructure and focus primarily on our training program. During this time of transition and transformation, your financial support would be greatly appreciated.
How will this affect families?
Non-training services currently being offered by ACT will now be provided by MCFD, including information and support for families, as well as the management of the Registry of Autism Service Providers (RASP). These services are expected to be provided by MCFD employees, likely at the Pacific Autism Family Centre in Richmond, by June 30, 2017. In the meantime, ACT will continue to provide services under an extension of our current contract.
It has been a privilege for ACT to support families and professionals within the BC autism community and beyond. ACT is proud of the wide range of services we have provided over the years, thanks to the deep commitment of staff, volunteers, donors, researchers, board members, and event volunteers, in collaboration with many community partners.
ACT remains steadfast in its belief that the work of supporting families is best done by a non-governmental organization led by a community-based Board of Directors. However, we are committed to carefully transitioning these services to MCFD, so that the thousands of families and professionals who benefit from them each year continue to be supported. We are hopeful that MCFD will hire numerous ACT staff to sustain our legacy of empowering those affected by autism.
Sustaining ACT’s training program
An important part of ACT’s mandate has been its training program. Since 2010, ACT has provided:
- 14,000 registrants with over 100,000 hours of training by leading clinicians and researchers;
- Over 120 live events in three languages, in 14 communities across BC;
- Autism Videos @ ACT which now includes 20 free online videos – available internationally.
ACT’s Board of Directors is committed to transforming ACT into a training-focused organization, and I will remain as ACT’s Executive Director. While ACT’s core training has never been funded by government and is sustained by donations, registration fees, and sponsorship, many staff members supported both wings of ACT’s work, allowing us to deliver all services cost-effectively. There may be challenges at first, but our 2017 calendar is in place and we will continue to offer families and professionals access to practical and evidence-based information that transforms the lives of people with autism. These letters of endorsement, submitted as part of our MCFD proposal, are evidence of the respect that ACT’s training program has earned.
How can you support ACT with a tax-deductible donation in 2016?
The transition to a stand-alone training organization requires upgrade costs and the ability to enhance what we already have in place. If ACT has had a positive impact on you over the past decade, or you would like to sustain our resources for new families, please consider making a gift in support of ACT. Your donation will have a direct impact on the future of autism training. Gifts can be made through cheque, United Way, and Canada Helps. For more details, please visit: ACT’s Donations Page.
Answering your questions
ACT is aware that countless families rely on us for advice, counsel and reliable information. If you have concerns around next steps for ACT, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to also post your questions or comments on ACT’s Facebook page.
Best wishes for 2017, from the Board and Staff of ACT, and thank you in advance for your support!
Deborah Pugh, Executive Director