In our Premier’s own words, “We aim to strive towards the goal of ensuring that all students in British Columbia receive the best quality education possible. Hopefully, by working together, we can achieve this goal.”
My thought: after ten years of aiming to strive toward a thing, isn't it time to arrive at the goal, and ensure stability through an inter-ministerial agreement?Global BC | Special school for autistic children forced to close its doors Global News
PRESS RELEASEGlen Eden Multimodal Centre
Glen Eden Multimodal Centre provides combined educational and clinical programs to students with complex special needs. In recognition of the highly specialized and unique clinical services that Glen Eden offers, a grant was established for the school by the Ministry of Children and Family Development in July 2000. This funding was provided for “counselling, implementation of individualized behavioural intervention strategies, and life skills training”. This CommunityLINK funding continued to be administered by MCFD until May 2004 when it was transferred to the Ministry of Education. In the fall of 2009, we were informed that this funding was going to be reduced by half for the 2009-2010 school year and would be eliminated completely in the following school year. The reason given was that, as an independent school, we were not eligible for this funding. However, we serve students who have been excluded from all public educational environments due to their severe and challenging behaviours, as well as associated safety concerns. As all children in the province of British Columbia have the right to a quality education, Glen Eden has continued to provide these essential services to our students despite the loss of this funding.
The Ministry of Education provides a standardized way of calculating special needs funding; in the 2011-2012 school year, Glen Eden applied for and received approximately $400,000 in special education funding based on the number and diagnoses of the students in our care. However, this funding, which is available to all special needs students in British Columbia, is not sufficient to cover the cost of one-on-one services, which is what our population requires. When we were informed in 2009 that the CommunityLINK funding would be discontinued, we immediately approached the Ministry of Education to discuss possible solutions. Despite numerous attempts, we received little to no response over the following two years. When the Ministry of Education finally evaluated Glen Eden`s program and funding situation in September 2011, they reported that MCFD may be a more appropriate agency to fund the clinical component of the program and that the Ministry of Education would facilitate these discussions. To our knowledge, no such discussion between these ministries has yet taken place.
MCFD provides funding to Glen Eden for residential care for a small number of our students. While these students require consistent care and treatment 24 hours a day, 12 months of the year, summer day programming was not considered in these original contracts. Prior to the summer of 2009, we requested that these services be funded or that alternate arrangements be made. We received no response to these requests until the following September, at which time a review of our existing contracts was denied. In the absence of instructions from MCFD as to alternate arrangements and due to safety concerns that prevent the children from returning to their families` homes, Glen Eden continued providing day programming for these students through the summers of 2009 to 2011. Our expectation was that MCFD would provide payment for services rendered. In June of 2012, MCFD approved funding for summer programming for our residential clients; however, payment for previous summers is still not forthcoming.
We ask that the ministries adhere to their stated goal of providing integrated health, education and social services to all individuals throughout the province. As Glen Eden provides a fully integrated service in these three areas, we ask that an inter-ministerial agreement be reached with regard to funding for the needs of these children. Time has run out – immediate funding is necessary for our program to continue. In 2002, Christy Clark, as Minister of Education and Deputy Premier communicated by letter that MCFD would continue to support Glen Eden with annual funding. In our Premier’s own words, “We aim to strive towards the goal of ensuring that all students in British Columbia receive the best quality education possible. Hopefully, by working together, we can achieve this goal.”