Public Forum “Being Mindful of Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities”

FOR IMMEDEATE RELEASE
Public Forum “Being Mindful of Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities”
(March 11, 2008… 10:00 AM to 12:30PM, 1702 Ninth Line (at Hwy#15), Carleton Place, Beckwith Township Hall)

There are currently 649 individuals with Intellectual Disabilities on waiting list for support services in the six counties of South-Eastern Ontario, (Lanark, Leeds /Grenville/Grenville, Hastings, Prince Edward, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington)
234 of these individuals have high needs which require 24/7 residential support. Many of these families, who have been caring for their loved ones, are reaching their breaking point and are loosing hope.

They have been waiting many years. As they wait, the answer has always been the same … there is not money. However, other individuals with intellectual disabilities, with equally deserving needs, receive full funding and do not have to languish on waiting lists… There are fairness and inequities in the system that must be addressed:

1. Individuals with intellectual disabilities who are coming out the institutions are fully funded in newly constructed group homes that will be fully staffed. By contrast those families that did not commit their children to institutions (even though this option was always available to them) but chose to love and care for their children, for many, many years…are told there is no money for their children when the parents reach the age where they can no longer provide for their offspring’s care. Aging parents are living in quiet desperation not knowing what will happen to their children when they can no longer care for them. This is Unfair

2. Children with intellectual disabilities who were cared by the Children’s Aides Societies are fully funded when they reach the age of 18 for support services (Transitional Aged Youth program). By contrast those parents who chose not to give their children to the Children’s Aide Societies but cared for their children at home are told once they reach 18, there is no money for supports and the family must go on the waiting list. Some families have been waiting years. This is Unfair

3. When children with intellectual disabilities are under 18 they are provided mandatory services required by the Education Act through the schools. However, when children reach the age when they leave the school system they reach the cliff and must go on the waiting list again. This is unfair.

4. There are many more families in crisis for other reason, whether it is bureaucratic red tape or a lack of understanding of the real desperation that these families must face on a daily basis.

On November 14, 2007, In response to a question asking what MCSS was doing about this need in the six counties, the Minister of Community and Social Services stated there were “83 new group home spaces in Eastern Ontario” to meet this needs . Unfortunately none of these 83 spaces were in the six counties of South Eastern Ontario and most of the 83 new spaces were not in group homes but supportive living arrangements for more independent adults. The high need individuals who need higher levels of care continue to languish on waiting list with despair and a sense of hopelessness building.

This is a public forum intended to raise community awareness of the importance of providing needed services to people with intellectual disabilities.

Sponsored by:
Tayside Community Residential and Support Options and Randy Hillier, MPP
For more information contact: Dave Hagerman, Executive Director, Tayside Community Residential and Support Options 613- 264-0953 x 102, 613- 235-1378 (h)
dhagerman@tayside.ca or… see Tayside web site www.tayside.ca , Advocacy Tab.

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