On February 6, 2019 at Holland Bloorview, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services announced it is introducing new strategics in an attempt to improve access to autism services for the many families affected in Ontario.
According to the MCCSS, the proposed reforms are designed to clear the existing waitlist of 23,000 children for the Ontario Autism Program within 18 months, ensuring these families receive direct financial support through a Childhood Budget.
Childhood Budgets will be of varying amounts, depending on how long a child (under 18 years old) will be in the program and subject to annual income testing. Caregivers will now be empowered to engage the eligible services that they feel are most beneficial to their unique needs, within their children’s budgets.
Other initiatives announced include the expansion of Ontario’s five autism diagnostic hubs; the establishment of an independent intake agency to guide families to appropriate resources; and the improvement of service provider accountability and oversight.
Our team at Jake’s House hopes that this announcement means that more families living with autism will be able to access quality support sooner. We know, however, that efforts have to extend beyond this. While traditional treatments can make an impact, we cannot underestimate the power of belonging and the feeling of support from a friend, family member or even a stranger.
We must connect and collaborate as a community, so our combined compassion and resources, along with our diverse perspectives and approaches, can unlock opportunities that none of us could have accessed independently. Only together do we have the strength to cultivate belonging and develop a lasting support system.
“Children with autism need a voice. That voice needs to be strengthened from many sources. Parents and caregivers. Institutions and corporations. Government and the private sector. Remove one of these elements, the voices of our children are diminished. There is no one solution to providing care for our children. The only solution lies within a community that can work together.”
– David Bodanis, Co-Founder, Jake’s House
We hear far too often that families living with autism feel alone, like no one recognizes or relates to them. Today, we want you to know: we understand, we care, and we are with you. We are committed to providing family-focused services with real social impact and to building a community of support.