ST THOMAS – Elgin County residents Susan Buro and Diane White were at MPP Jeff Yurek’s office today to raise awareness of the provincial government’s failure to provide adequate services for those with mental and developmental disabilities. While a number of resources are available to young children with disabilities, Ms. Buro and Ms. White noted the lack of support when those children turn 18.
Ms. Buro and Ms. White both know the struggles in trying to obtain support for their children as they transition into adulthood. Ms. Buro’s daughter has high mental health needs that would be best met with a residential placement.
However, waitlists are discouragingly long and Ms. Buro’s first application was lost by Developmental Services Ontario. This forced her to re-file the application and pushed her daughter further down on the waitlist.
Ms. White’s son – who has a developmental disability – has had trouble getting on the area waitlist for a Regional Support Associate. Regional Support Associates provide clinical care and services in the home. The current waitlist in Elgin County is 12 people which results in a placement time of 60 weeks on average.
The two mothers noted that the situation has reached a crisis point. In Elgin County, developmental services funding is already committed through to the end of the year leaving many parents without options.
These struggles are shared by parents across the province. Amanda Telford, who made headlines last month for leaving her 19 year old son Philippe at a provincial developmental services office in Ottawa in an act of desperation, demonstrates the widespread nature of the problem.
MPP Yurek noted that this is something the PC party has been working to address. He cited colleague Christine Elliott’s legislative motion that calls on the government to establish Select Committee to develop a comprehensive developmental services strategy for Ontarians. Despite passing the legislature with all-party support, the government has yet to act.
Ms. Buro, Ms. White and MPP Yurek all agreed that the longer the government refuses to act, the worse the crisis will get.
“I have met with Ms. Buro and Ms. White as well as many other parents who struggle to find the necessary supports for their children. We need to do better as province in providing the appropriate level of assistance for those most vulnerable. Ontario benefits when we enable all our citizens to reach their full potential; this is something we must recognize. It’s time the government got in gear and moved forward on this matter.” – Jeff Yurek, MPP Elgin-Middlesex-London
“At the core of Canadian belief lies socialism, one of the tenets is to protect and take care those most vulnerable and yet here we have Ontario failing miserably those young adults with developmental disabilities. It is hopeless, it is bleak, it is absolutely shameful and it is time to change. No parent should be forced to abandon their child in order to receive appropriate services.” – Susan Buro
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