VANCOUVER -- The provincial government says funding is being extended to help B.C.'s most vulnerable children and youth cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement from the Ministry of Children and Family Development says the Emergency Relief Support fund for children and youth with special needs and their families is being extended for another three months -- until Sept. 30.

It provides $225 monthly for eligible recipients, while flexible guidelines on autism funding will continue until the end of August and pandemic-related respite funding will be available until March 2021.

Other provincial measures include an extension of funding until the end of September to ensure care levels don't change -- even if the recipient “ages out” of provincial care before then.