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Ministry of Children and Family Development defends supports available for autism in light of murder-suicide

The Ministry of Children and Family Development is defending its support for families of children diagnosed with autism following concerns raised by the family of Angie and Robert Robinson.

As reported last week, the Robinson family is calling into question supports available in Prince Rupert families with autistic youth following the April 3 murder-suicide on Ebert Street. In a statement, the ministry said there is support for families across B.C.

"For children under age six, families are eligible for up to $22,000 per year to assist with the cost of autism intervention services, based on best practice, to promote their child's communication, social-emotional, pre-academic and functional life-skills development.  For children age six to 18, families receive funding up to $6,000 per year to assist with the cost of out-of-school intervention services to promote their child's communication, social-emotional, academic and functional life skills," the ministry said.

"B.C. is the only province in Canada that has a no-waitlist policy for families to access autism funding once their child or youth has received a confirmed diagnosis ... with autism funding, families are able to choose the type of intervention ... that best meets the needs of their child."

But a former resident commenting on the story through social media agrees with the Robinsons.

"As a parent of a child with autism and a former resident of Prince Rupert, I can say that the services in Rupert are non-existent," wrote Carmen Helin.

"I can not imagine doing this journey with my son without the supports he and our family have in Vancouver.

The Robinson family declined comment.

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