Community services

Grants boost community services for children and youth with support needs

Services to help children and youth with support needs and their families are strengthened with $7 million in grants to community service providers and advocacy organizations.

“Community service providers are essential partners in the government’s work to make services for children and young people with support needs more flexible and family-friendly,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of Child Development and of the family. “These grants will help service providers help more families and ensure children and youth are supported as we complete our transition to needs-based services in 2024.”

The Ministry of Children and Family Development provides four one-time grants to:

  • Vancouver Foundation ($2.76 million);
  • the Down Syndrome Resource Foundation ($215,000);
  • Inclusion BC ($2 million); and
  • Sunny Hill Health Center ($2 million).

These one-time grants are part of the government’s work to establish a new system of supports for children and young people with support needs and their families that will allow better and more consistent access to information, intervention, experts, mental health supports and therapies at new Family Connection Centers are being established across the province.

The Vancouver Foundation grant will support its work with respite providers to expand respite services to families of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Under the patchwork of programs the government inherited, many families were unable to access these services. The $2.76 million grant will help approximately 400 families access much-needed respite services until the new system is in place.

“We are moving quickly to address a recommendation from the Child and Youth Representative to close the gap in services for families of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder,” Dean said. “For too long, these families have been left behind and left behind, when their children were in dire need. This is one of the main reasons we are creating a new system of supports and services for children and young people with support needs – to make them inclusive and based on the unique needs of each child.

Funding from the grant for the Down Syndrome Resource Foundation will support the launch of a three-year pilot program that aims to provide consistent, timely, and direct support tailored specifically to children, youth, and young adults with Down syndrome. The program will be managed from the foundation’s Burnaby office and will inform the future direction of these supports as the government moves towards the new service approach for children and youth with support needs.

The grant to Inclusion BC will support a community development approach to the new service system.

Finally, the Sunny Hill Health Center grant will support the creation and delivery of assessment training for Family Connections Center staff and clinicians to ensure that families receive a consistent approach to services across the province.


Kevin McCort, President and CEO, Vancouver Foundation –

“The Vancouver Foundation believes that collaboration between government, charities, families and caregivers of children and youth with support needs will bring real benefits to young people and their communities across British Columbia. We are proud to be a partner in this new initiative as we strive to make positive impacts for families.

Wayne Leslie, Executive Director, Down Syndrome Resource Foundation (DSRF) –

“This funding is essential for DSRF to meet the growing needs of the Down Syndrome community in British Columbia. As a charity, we subsidize all of our services through fundraising to make them as accessible as possible to families, many of whom face significant financial hardship when raising a child with a disability. Generating the additional funds needed to introduce and ultimately sustain new services, such as behavioral health support for children and youth with Down syndrome, can be extremely challenging. New partnerships, like this one with the MCFD, are essential to ensure that every child receives the support they need to thrive.

Karla Verschoor, Executive Director, Inclusion BC –

“The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, BC Association for Child Development and Intervention, Federation of Community Social Service Providers of BC and Inclusion BC have come together to promote a collaborative, community-based approach to implementing the new service. framework for children and young people with support needs. Our collective goal is to bring together community members and local organizations to support a process that harnesses the existing strength across the province, community by community, to ensure the best possible support system for children and youth with support needs and their families. ”

Sarah Bell, Chief Operating Officer, BC Children’s Hospital and Sunny Hill Health Center –

“The teams at Sunny Hill Health Center at BC Children’s Hospital are excited to participate in the new Family Connections Centres. Sunny Hill staff have been at the forefront of using a trauma-informed, culturally safe and respectful approach so that children and youth feel they are receiving welcoming, safe and inclusive care. We are pleased to partner with the Ministry of Child and Family Development and other child welfare services for the benefit of families and our health care partners across the province. We are grateful to the Province of British Columbia and the Ministry of Children and Family Development for supporting this important initiative.

Learn more:

For more information on the new support system, visit:

Questions about the new service approach can be directed to the Resource Line for Children and Youth with Support Needs: 1-833-882-0024