Funding Required to Improve Quality of Life for Adults Languishing in Hospitals
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Most parents of neuro-typical children in Ontario will plan for the future of their children; transition them into post-secondary school, move them into their first apartment, see them secure their first job, watch them get married, and/or perhaps become parents themselves. Conversely, parents of adults with developmental disabilities in Ontario are wondering if they'll be around to see the day their children receive government-funded supportive housing as they continue to age. They watch as the waitlist continues to grow to span decades, only to find that supports and funding are drastically reduced or eliminated after they turn 18 years of age.
"Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. These conditions begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning, and usually last throughout a person's lifetime." - CDC
The average family who lives with a loved one with a Developmental Disability (i.e. Autism), can be on a housing waitlist for 20 years. But, what happens when that family member and their family are in crisis?
These stories are only a few of thousands in the Province of Ontario. The above families have done what they were advised to do to strive for change. They have used the media to shed light on this issue, they have written their local MPP for help, advocating for their loved one who cannot speak or advocate for themselves.
When families are in crisis (i.e. being physically harmed, the individual is harming themselves, eloping into traffic, experiencing distress episodes where the local Police Service needs to be called to assist), they have no other choice for safety than to take their child to the local hospital, where the individual is placed in the psychiatric ward.
More often than not, these Health Care Professionals are trying their best to support and care for the Autistic individual, but they are not properly trained, and are often fearful. As a result, the individual with Autism is not adequately cared for, and yet is unable to be supported elsewhere, as there is no space for Supportive Group Home living due to a lack of significant funding.
Loved ones who are Autistic in crisis, are restricted to spending their days in a room with a window, in hospital gowns, with no access to the outside world. They are languishing in hospitals for months, with no light at the end of the tunnel.
The Ontario Government and Developmental Services Ontario suggest that these families who are in crisis, are not able to keep employment as they are caring for their loved one with Autism. Yet the solutions given are not possible or sustainable.
The Ontario Government is failing our most vulnerable.
It is time for a change. Not only for Parker Curran, who has been regressing in the Niagara Health System's Psychiatric Ward since March 2020, but also for the thousands of individuals like Parker who deserve respect, dignity, and an equitable quality of life.
Join us in this call-to-action to:
- urge the Ontario Government to secure additional funding to make more supportive housing available to our Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) community;
- urge the Ontario Government to allocate additional funding for training courses that educate the community (including health practioners) on ways to engage with neurodiverse populations that are both safe and dignified;
- request that Minister Todd Smith of Children, Community, and Social Services acknowledge that the ASD community has the right to high quality health care and knowledgeable support workers;
- take the necessary steps to make this a reality now.
PETITION TO THE MINISTRY OF CHILDREN, COMMUNITY, AND SOCIAL SERVICES
Issue: Autistic Thorold Teen, Parker Curran Held at Psychiatric Ward due to Lack of Space at Group Home.
We, the undersigned, petition the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services as follows:
WHEREAS at the end of 2017-18, there were approx. 18,200 adults with developmental
disabilities who requested supportive housing (up significantly from 12,000 in 2013) Housing Task Force Ontario Developmental Services Final Report 2018
WHEREAS the waitlist for supportive housing is 23 years (CBC: 'It scares me:' Adults with disabilities still waiting decades for supportive housing)
WHEREAS Ontario is providing $2.32 billion in annual funding toward developmental services and $1.46 billion of that goes toward residential services
Families are being encouraged to buy and staff their own houses (this means purchasing an additional home and compensating trained staff year round)
WHEREAS according to a spokesperson for the Ministry, autistic persons are not
accommodated on a first come first served basis but rather persons who are determined to be most in need are prioritized for available resources. Parker Curran fits this criteria.
WHEREAS the current system of crisis intervention in regards to developmental disabilities is inaccessible, unsafe and undignified.
Based on the above facts, we, the undersigned, urge the government to allocate additional funding for more housing and training courses open to the community and be required for professionals in specific fields of work. This course of action is in compliance with AODA.
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