The Special Needs Tragedy

 

Special Needs Strategy work has been going on for far too long – 4 years to be exact – with zero solutions or improvements felt by families. Although we recognized it was started with good intentions by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, over time it has sadly left families in crisis.

We feel the special needs strategy has been a waste of 10 million dollars, a waste of time, and a waste of public funding and resources.

Photo credit Money fight-  FritsAhlefeldt.com
Money Fight

In a number of areas across Ontario, the decision makers from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (CCAC/LHIN), lead agencies such as those who provide preschool speech and language services, the Ministry of Education (District School Boards) and the Ministry of Children and Youth (Children Treatment Centres) met each other endlessly in order to drive change and improvements and reach local consensus. However, they could not agree who would handle the funding. No party was willing to give up control of services, resources, jobs and, most importantly, funding in order to improve the fragmented and broken system for children and youth with special needs. The whole process was ruined by GREED.

Look to Windsor for an example of this. No agreement could be reached and the Ministry of Children and Youth had to send in a mediator.

Sadly there is still no resolution, leaving families in limbo. Some families are unaware of what services are available to them, while others sit on a waiting list. Years of chaos have continued for families and their children without complete coordinated services.

Parents should be capable of managing their children’s rehabilitation funding and may even be able to purchase more rehabilitation services privately. Parents could also choose to use their local Children Treatment Centre if they preferred direct service. They can’t right now, but they deserve this choice.

Ontario voters care about special needs children and youth, and all families expect fiscally responsible and equitable services and resources for children and youth with ALL disabilities. It is 2018 after all.

image2
Climbing a mountain

We, families with children and adults with disabilities, feel like we are climbing Mount Everest. We are just at different stages of the climb. When we bump into the right advocates, they help us move up to the next level and for a brief moment, we can admire the view, close our eyes and breathe. But all too soon, we have to resume the long, lonely ascent.

With the right supports, it could be more like this:

image3
A family feeling at peace

 instead of this

Photo credit Money fight-  FritsAhlefeldt.com
Money Fight

 

#NoChildLeftBehind #onpoli #SpecialNeedsTragedy

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