Video: MLA Rice Challenges Lack of Resources for Children with Special Needs

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J. Rice: Today Michelle Watson spoke publicly about the tragedy that took the lives of her sister Angie Robinson and her nephew Robert. Her sister was a single mom whose son had severe autism. The coroner’s inquest found that Angie did not get the support and respite care she needed from this government. Angie’s sister said today: “Robert would have been here had our child welfare system been operating effectively. When Angie’s services were cut, there was no longer anything for her.”

Faith Bodnar of Inclusion B.C. said today: “We are a province in crisis when it comes to children with special needs.”

This was a preventable tragedy. When is this government going to stop making excuses and start providing the resources needed to repair the real damage they’ve done to families in this province? When are they going to address two key coroner’s inquest recommendations and finally act to provide safe, adequate public transportation for the communities along Highway 16, otherwise known as the Highway of Tears?

Hon. S. Cadieux: Firstly, our hearts go out to the family who’s grieving and to the community and all of the individuals who loved and cared for Angie and Robert.

The reality is that their situation raises important issues. Inclusion B.C. does very important work advocating on behalf of British Columbians with developmental disabilities and their families. I’ve enjoyed working with them in the past. Today they’ve also raised some very important issues.

We are always looking at ways that we can improve the way we deliver services, the way we deliver supports to families. There is no argument that families who are coping with disabilities that their children have, families that are coping with the stresses — financial, emotional and physical — of dealing with these tremendously complex issues, are struggling. They all struggle. What we do as a government is attempt, as best we can, to provide supports and services to assist those families in managing and creating a good life for themselves and their children.