For the second time this year, a Saskatchewan group supporting families with autism is shutting down.
First, it was SaskFEAT, and now it’s The Casey Foundation – leaving over 900 kids in the province with less support.
“The Casey Foundation really was a staple for this province,” said Katie Emde, Saskatchewan advocate for autism.
Helping to fund families for children with autism for over 15 years, the charity is ceasing operations at the end of April.
Emde is also a mother of three. Her oldest son suffers from severe non-verbal autism while her youngest son is in the process of being diagnosed.
“They were the foundation for a lot of other groups and families finding their voice in this province,” Emde said.
For 15 years, The Casey Foundation has distributed over $900,000 to thousands of Saskatchewan families – helping them access support that increases their quality of life.
“I do know they’ve had a hard time keeping up with the volume of requests for funding, as more children are being diagnosed on the autism spectrum,” said Keely Wight, Autism Resource Centre executive director.
The province dedicates $11.8 million of funding every year to autism services and supports.
In 2018, they launched individualized funding for children with autism, which provides $4,000 per year for children under the age of six.
“The government needs to recognize there were 700 kids under the age of six in 2017, going through the system,” Emde said.
“It’s not enough money to get all these kids the help and best quality of life that they deserve.”
The closure is leaving mothers like Emde to advocate for not just her family, but hundreds of others struggling to afford the cost of living with autism.
“As a province, we can either ignore what’s happening, or we can do something about it,” Emde said.