Regina mom says parents who adopt children with special needs deserve support

Regina mom Crystal Beach is upset with what she sees as a drop in support from the Saskatchewan Government’s Ministry of Social Services. Beach has begun speaking out publicly on social media.

Crystal Beach thinks services for families of kids with special needs are slowly being cut

Crystal Beach has no regrets over choosing to adopt two children with special needs, but worries that assistance from the province is being cut. (Submitted by Crystal Beach)

There have been many challenges over the years, but Regina mom Crystal Beach does not regret adopting two children with special needs.

My hope is to have some sort of movement.- Crystal Beach 

"I believe I got the children I was meant to have," Beach told CBC Radio's The Morning Edition.

Beach is upset, however, with what she sees as a drop in support from the Saskatchewan Government's Ministry of Social Services. Beach has begun speaking out publicly on social media.

Slow cuts

"What I found is there are many other parents experiencing the same thing," she said. "I've noticed probably over the past two to three years that slowly services have started to withdraw."

For example, Beach said, social workers no longer come to the home to meet with the family to best assess their needs.

"It's very hard for someone to be making decisions about a family when they don't have any sense of where they are coming from."

In addition, Beach said she has been asked to choose between vital services like horse therapy and skating, with no real time to canvas her children first.   

Province says funding is stable

Right now, there are about 700 children with special needs who receive some funding through the Ministry of Social Services assisted adoption program.

Janice Colquhoun is the executive director of the ministry's child and family programs.

"The assisted adoption budget for the program has continued to increase over the years, and last year we had a budget of $6.2 million and we are on track to spend over $300,000 more this year," Colquhoun said.

Colquhoun said the assistance comes on a case-by-case basis and serves only to meet needs where existing programs, employee assistance programs and private insurance fall short.

So while Colquhoun contends that the program has not suffered cuts, there has been an effort over the last few years to find inconsistencies, and then fix them.

Crystal Beach has an upcoming meeting with the ministry to talk about her concerns. But after hearing from so many other families who are struggling to make ends meet, she vowed to keep fighting for the best services, both provincially and federally.

"My hope is to have some sort of movement where we can get things even and get a higher standard of living for all of our children across Canada."

About the Author

Danny Kerslake

Danny Kerslake is an award-winning journalist who has worked in radio stations across Western Canada. In his career with CBC Saskatchewan, Danny has reported from every corner of the province and has lived and worked in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert. Danny is a newsreader and digital AP for CBC Saskatoon.

With files from The Morning Edition