Step 4: Hiring and Contracting with a Service Provider

Important considerations before hiring a professional

Although the government of B.C. is providing the funding for a child’s program, it is the parent who takes responsibility for spending the funds wisely. Essentially, the parent is entering into a private contract with a service provider.

Do not rush into signing a contract. 

Take the time to meet with a few professionals to speak with them directly about the services and programs they are able to provide. Meeting face-to-face with a potential service provider helps to decide who will be the best fit for your child and family.

Will the approach to treatment work for your family?

Be cautious when providers insist that their approach works for all children.

Consider:

  • Are they listening to your family’s priorities?
  • How many direct hours of intervention for your child does their program provide?
  • What are the costs?
  • Are you expected to implement the strategies with little direct support?
  • Do you have financial resources to contribute to funding the program, in addition to Autism Funding?
  • If you are a single-parent or a low-income family you will need to consider carefully the full financial picture.
  • If you are a two-parent family, do you both work? How much time can you contribute to managing the people coming into your home to provide therapy?
  • Is there a centre-based program which offers a better fit?

Make sure you understand the contract.

The contract should outline both the service provider’s responsibilities as well as the parent’s obligations. See Chapter 5 from ACT’s Autism Manual for B.C., “Contracting with Professionals on the RASP”— it provides further information on the importance of signing a contract and the details it should include.

Require a monthly invoice.

Many families become distressed when they realize that their child’s autism funding account has been emptied more quickly than planned because they gave a blanket permission to invoice the child’s account and did not track the invoices each month:

  • Require a monthly invoice and review it carefully; it should be sent to you at the same time it is sent to the Autism Funding Branch.
  • Set limits in the contract on how much can be debited each month.
  • Require written authorization for services which are above the limits set in the contract.