As part of the Ontario government’s multi-year investment strategies for the community and the Developmental Services sector, adults who have an intellectual disability in the province will soon have improved access to services and supports in their communities.
Minister of Community and Social Services Dr. Helena Jaczek and Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale MPP Ted McMeekin made the announcement at Contact Hamilton on Wednesday (June 21st).
“Our investment in improvements to the Developmental Services sector will have real and lasting impacts on the lives of those with a developmental disability and their family,” said McMeekin in a release.
“This approach will see increased collaboration between government and communities with the goal of bettering lives across Ontario.”
One strategy mentioned was the hiring of more staff for Developmental Services Ontario, which assists adults and their families in finding local services and supports. There are nine agencies province-wide.
People with an ‘exceptional dual diagnosis’ or complex medical and behavioural needs will have more access to specialized services and clinical professionals, like doctors and psychologists, in the home.
Employment is another major initiative, as the Ministry of Community and Social Services has partnered with the Ontario Disability Employment Network “to better coordinate services and increase capacity across Developmental Service agencies, Employment Supports service providers, school boards and employers.”
This will come as a relief to families of people who have an developmental disability, who often express frustration at the lack of coordination between provincial services.
Additional assistance will be provided by expanding family support networks—caregivers who help connect people to services and supports and “help give adults with developmental disabilities and their families a sense of belonging…”
According to the release, “Ontario will continue to work with people with developmental disabilities, their families and caregivers, agencies and other community partners to increase connections, and help them best determine their own future.”
“Supporting adults with developmental disabilities is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.”
Ontario is investing $12.5 million this year in the pursuit of these goals, including $3 million for the Adult Protective Service Worker program. That’s in addition to the over $2 billion a year the province already dedicates to the Developmental Services sector.
“We believe these funds will make a positive difference in the lives of adults with a developmental disability and their families across our province and in the Hamilton-Niagara Region,” said Lea Pollard, Executive director of Developmental Services Ontario Hamilton Niagara and Contact Hamilton.
“This targeted investment will help make important connections between people with developmental disabilities and the services they need in their communities,” Jaczek assured.
“These actions further our goal of transformation in the Developmental Services sector and, most importantly, they will make a meaningful impact in the lives of the individuals and families that we serve.”
Daniel Share-Strom, Community Living Ontario