23,000 children with Autism will get support
Feb. 08, 2019
Global Korean Post
The families of 23,000 children currently struggling on waitlists for the Ontario Autism Program will finally receive financial supports to help them afford autism services.
Ontario’s Government announced a widespread reform of the Ontario Autism Program designed to clear the unfair and punishing waitlist, and provide equality and sustainability to the program so that more families of children and youth with autism can receive service.
“Today, almost 3 out of every 4 children who require autism supports continue to be stranded on waitlists due to the cynicism and incompetence of the previous government,” said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.
Under the government’s proposed reforms, families may receive a Childhood Budget until their child turns 18. The amount of the budget will depend on the length of time a child will be in the program, with supports targeted to lower and middle-income families. For example, a child entering the program at age two would be eligible to receive up to $140,000, while a child entering the program at age seven would receive up to $55,000. The reform is expected to clear 23,000 children off the autism waitlist within the next 18 months.
“I have heard from families across the province about their personal struggles, that the system is broken and their lack of confidence in how services are currently being delivered,” she added. “Our government is committed to helping families receive crucial supports and services faster and improving outcomes for children and youth with autism.”
Families will be able to choose to purchase the eligible services they value most, including behavioural services, from providers of their choice on a fee-for-service basis. Parents will have flexibility when it comes to how funds are allocated, translating into a greater impact in their child’s early years. A new framework will also be put in place to assist in navigating the system and support parents in making the best decision for their family.
Additional actions include:
- Doubling funding to expand the province’s five diagnostic hubs so that families can receive a diagnosis sooner;
- Introducing a provider list to help families find qualified clinical supervisors for behavioural services;
- Establishing an independent agency to bring families into the program, help them manage their funding, and assist them in purchasing and accessing services; and
- Improving how services are delivered so families have confidence in providers and the service system.
Autism Ontario will be playing a key role over the course of the next year to offer support to families to help them understand their options and to assist them in finding service providers through workshops, training sessions and one-on-one support.
Dedicated Autism Service Ontario Toll-Free Number, 1-888-284-8340.