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The Star features Ontario families in crisis or confusion over funding
Below are links to stories. If you want to read more on each topic please choose any of the paragrphs and it will take you to the Toronto Start to see the related story.
Funding crucial for developmentally disabled to live ordinary lives
“Passport” funding enables Jessica Emmons to live “an everyday ordinary life” in the community. Her mother Maureen is dedicated to ensuring Jessica has an active life outside the house, and has cultivated a “circle of support” that includes family, friends and people in the community who know and care about Jessica.
Families fear Ontario funding changes leave disabled youths with uncertain future.
“When Donna and Don Taylor adopted two infants with special needs, they dreamed of helping them build active lives at school and in their neighbourhood… and they worked doggedly to put the supports in place. But now, as the children approach adulthood, the foundation … is at risk of collapsing. Last year, the province changed the funding system, leaving teens like Joshua and Naomi at risk of losing financial support their families had counted on.
Families Disability funding: Meet the parents who are speaking out
Parents across the province fear loss of funds that help build lives and relationships for their kids.
If your family is in crisis or confused, you can speak up to the Ontario Ombudsman….
Ontario Ombudsman’s Invitation To Speak Up For Adults Who Are At Risk or In Crisis
If you are among the many Ontario people living with disabilities and their families who are still waiting for the kind of supports and services that you need, the Ontario Ombudsman offers a good chance to speak up. Starting in mid-November 2012 the Ombudsman announced a six-month investigation into the adequacy of services and the responsiveness of the Ministry and its agencies. We are halfway through that period, so don’t delay if you want your concerns to be included. People who contacted the Ombudsman’s office have reported relief in reaching good, sympathetic listeners.
As of February 28, the Ombudsman’s Office has received 487 complaints – 424 of those since the investigation was announced on November 29, 2012. The investigation will continue for the next three months.
Ontario Ombudsman André Marin and his staff are investigating Ontario’s services for adults with developmental disabilities who are in crisis situations. In the past few months some desperate families have gone public with complaints about their loved ones being at risk because there was nowhere to care for them. The increase in complaints indicates there may be a systemic problem so that a broader investigation is warranted…
Mr Marin also notes that the Auditor-General of Ontario’s report last year found that there is inadequate Ministry oversight of the $472 million it transfers to agencies providing services for people with developmental disabilities. “My investigation will build on that, and determine whether the Ministry is doing all it can to respond to crisis situations, and providing access to services in a fair and equitable manner,” he said. “It’s about timely response to crisis situations. It’s about making sure people who need help are not left without supports or homes.”
See update: Marin swamped with parents’ complaints about no help for special-needs children
Issues raised include a variety of mental and physical conditions including the inability to communicate verbally, inability to dress or care for themselves, low mental function, and unpredictable violent behaviour, requiring highly specialized care and services. The investigation will focus on two issues – whether the Ministry is adequately responding to urgent situations involving adults with developmental disabilities, and whether it is doing enough to co-ordinate, monitor and facilitate access to services for them.
The Ombudsman is asking anyone who has information relevant to the investigation to contact his office at 1-800-263-1830, file an online complaint or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The investigation will be conducted by the Special Ombudsman Response Team (SORT) and is expected to take about six months. Since 2005, SORT has conducted about 30 major systemic investigations into issues affecting large numbers of Ontarians. The Ombudsman’s recommendations stemming from these cases have been overwhelmingly accepted.
Families, friends and advocates who are concerned about someone who may be at risk are strongly urged to take this opportunity. The person need not be in crisis right now. If you have an adult son or daughter and are concerned about lack of funding, supports and options, the Ombudsman’s team wants to hear your story. You'll be connected to an interviewer who asks good questions and carefully documents your concerns. A phone interview takes about 30 minutes or you can email your concerns. It feels wonderful to be heard. And together, our voices make a difference.
Be aware of the DIRECT FUNDING NEWS SHEET
by the Everyday Ordinary Lives Group (1 December 2012)
Everyday Ordinary Lives Group, formerly called the Ad Hoc Direct Funding Group: we are family members and friends who have come together around the direct funding crisis which is preventing people living with disabilities from having a regular, everyday life. We are among the growing ranks of unpaid family caregivers across this province who provide the majority of support to family members who need it. We do this out of love and at some cost, both financial and personal, knowing that our loved ones deserve much more than we are capable of giving.
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Community Living provides supports and services to people with Intellectual Disabilities, their families and the community of Welland and Pelham.