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Vulnerable children signs help keep kids safe, says head of Autism Connections

The head of Autism Connections Fredericton says signs that tell the public there are vulnerable children living in the area help protect such kids by encouraging motorists to slow down.

Fredericton City Council recently voted to take signs down, after city staff questioned their benefits

The head of Autism Connections Fredericton says signs that tell the public there are vulnerable children living in the area help protect such kids by encouraging motorists to slow down. 

Fredericton City Council voted to discontinue the signs at their last meeting Monday, after staff received complaints.

Sean Lee, assistant director of engineering and operations with the city, said Monday night that the signs don't fall under a national standard and there's no evidence to prove they're beneficial.

Rick Hutchins, the executive director of Autism Connections Fredericton, said he thinks the signs are similar to those warning motorists to slow down around schools or that students are crossing the street in the area. 

"We're taught as drivers that's a scenario where we're supposed to slow down," he said.

Some children with autism have the propensity to run and could end up running out onto the street, so the signs give families "a little bit more comfort."

"The idea is these signs, at least in my opinion, are there to inform people that there is someone in the neighbourhood who is vulnerable and they should slow down."

No complaints over decision yet 

At this point, Hutchins said he hasn't heard from any families about the recent council decision, so he doesn't have any plans to push the issue with city hall.

But if they do come forward, he said he'd be happy to reach out to city council to discuss the issue further.

The new policy takes effect April 16.

Any current signs that are posted will be taken down once the child turns 18 or moves out of the neighborhood — and no new signs will be added in the future.

Previously, when a family requested to have a sign put up, the city would install it because there wasn't a policy in place that said otherwise.

Council's decision to remove street signs warning of vulnerable children is not sitting well with everyone. Rick Hutchins, Executive Director with Autism Connections Fredericton, favours a case by case approach. 8:40
 

With files from Information Morning Fredericton