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AutismBC Highlights: Advocacy Support in BC

Sep 20th, 2021

Advocating for support is a skill that can be developed and taught. Learning how to successfully advocate is important. Jake Anthony, our Program Ambassador, says that he witnessed his mother’s passion for advocating for his needs, which in turn taught him the skills to advocate for himself. Her passion sparked Jake’s desire to grow into where he is today; a strong, vocal self-advocate. 

 

At AutismBC, our Resource Team is here to connect you to region specific community supports and other organizations that provide support and help meet your needs. When the AutismBC Resource Team is asked about complex needs, we provide relevant resources and then direct you onto an external advocacy and support teams at the following organizations:   

 

InclusionBC  
 
“Inclusion BC is a Provincial federation working with partners to build community and to enhance the lives of children, youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Their Community Inclusion Advocacy Program offers free advocacy support to individuals and their families who are in need of help. Their team of Advocates are knowledgeable and kind, and will meet people where they are at in their advocacy journey.  

Inclusion BC believes in empowering individuals and their families so they can advocate alongside them. The InclusionBC Advocates will listen attentively, offer knowledge and information, help to create a plan/strategy, and will be supportive through the process. Some of the support could be offering helpful language for letters/emails, attending meetings, identifying the next steps involved, and guiding on how to approach the key personnel within the system that they are advocating in.  

Those seeking support can connect with the InclusionBC team via email or phone. The Intake Coordinator will assess if it is a request for information/referral or advocacy support.  For information requests, the coordinator will provide relevant information or connect the Individual with the appropriate organization if it’s not within their scope of expertise.  For advocacy, the coordinator will refer the situation to the region-specific Advocate, who then will respond directly to the Individual” (InclusionBC, 2021).

Individuals and families can email the Community Inclusion Advocacy Team at advocacy@inclusionbc.org or call 1-844-488-4321 

For further information, you can visit their website at InclusionBC  

 

Representative for Children & Youth 

 “Since 2007, British Columbia’s Representative for Children and Youth has supported our province’s young people and their families in dealing with the provincial child and youth welfare system. 

The Representative also provides oversight to this system and makes recommendations to improve it. 

The Representative is a non-partisan, independent officer of the Legislature, reporting directly to the Legislative Assembly and not a government ministry” (RCY, 2019). 

Their mandate includes: 

  • Advocacy 
  • Reviews and Investigations 
  • Monitoring 
  • First Nations, Metis & Inuit Relations  

 To connect with an RCY Advocate or for general questions or comments, you can contact us by Email or phone (1-800-476-3933) (RCY, 2019). 

 

SelfAdvocateNet 

  • Self Advocate Liaisons and Peer Advisors  “BC has a strong network of self-advocacy leaders working across the province to promote equality and full inclusion for all people with diverse abilities.  Many folks have also become mentors for others, helping them to recognize their strengths, learn new things, and get connected in their community. There are a handful of Community Living agencies around BC that have realized the importance of this leadership and have created a paid position known as the Self Advocate Liaison or Peer Advisor.  

Although job descriptions vary from community to community, Self Advocate Liaisons share goals in making sure people who live with the label of a developmental disability understand their rights and have access to important information, respectful supports and community connections.” (SelfAdvocateNet, 2021) 

Self Advocate Net also maintains a database of places to connect with about General Advocacy in BC and Canada.  

Check out their list HERE 

 
Disability Alliance BC 

  • Advocacy Access has been a place of support, information and advocacy for people with disabilities since 1989. Our mission is to help our clients receive the government benefits and services to which they are entitled. We help people access provincial (PWD/PPMB) and federal (CPP-D) disability benefits, and medical services and supplies available to PWD/PPMB recipients. Our advocates help with applications and appeals related to these benefits. This brochure describes some of the ways our advocates can assist you.  
    • BC Disability Benefits 
    • Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPP-D) 
    • Tax AID DABC 
    • Information, Referral, Advice – general disability-related issues 
    • Partnerships – with our community partners to provide free legal clinics and social workers’ assistance with Section 3 of the PWD application form 
    • Disability Law Clinic 

 Contact for Services & Programs: Contact Us | DABC (disabilityalliancebc.org) 

  

Family Support Services (FSI)  

Family Advocacy:  The Family Support Institute is a rights-based organization that supports the voices of families and people with lived experiences of disability. FSI highlights issues of significance and concern through surveys, reports, and presentations in order to elevate the voices of families and people with disabilities.  

FSI does this with 3 main priorities in mind: 

  • To affect policy change 
  • To improve services and supports for those who need it 
  • To raise awareness in the community 

 FSI offers virtual workshops, support groups, peer-to-peer mentorship, inclusive community mapping, and regional coordinators with lived experiences.   

To connect with your local Regional Coordinator, please contact FSI directly. Family Support Institute or call the advocacy support line 1-800-441-5403  

  

BCEd Access  

BCEd Access Society is an entirely volunteer-run organization serving families of students with disabilities and complex learners all over the province of BC. Their focus is pursuing equitable access to education for children and youth in BC schools.  

  • Hosts an annual education advocacy conference AdvoCon2021 (September 22-26, 2021); 
  • Private FB support group of over 4000 people;  
  • Maintains a resource list on the BC Education System   

If you are a Parent or Guardian in British Columbia looking for support, knowledge and information regarding inclusive education in our Province, please email info@bcedaccess.com and request an invitation to their private FB online support group. (BCEdAccess, 2021)

 

Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) 

Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) is non-profit organization founded in 1989 to help families secure the future for loved ones with disabilities. 

Working in collaboration, PLAN builds personal support networks, make plans to secure the future, and bring families together for mutual support, learning and community leadership.  

With nearly 30 years of experience, PLAN offers customized planning and advocacy to help families navigate the many complex parts of securing the future for loved ones with disabilities. This support is available through their Lifetime Membership program, our Planning Network program, or for an hourly fee (charged on a sliding scale).  

PLAN is guided by the vision of creating “a good life” for all people – including those with disabilities. We focus on five broad priorities: 

  • A network of caring relationships to ensure connection & belonging 
  • Having opportunities to contribute to our community as equal citizens 
  • Living in a home that meets our needs 
  • Being supported to make important life decisions 
  • Being financially secure 

If you have any questions about how PLAN can support your family with customized planning and advocacy, please email hello@plan.ca (PLAN, 2021)

 

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