Parents worried wait lists will be dealt with by cutting services
HAMILTON - NDP MPP Monique Taylor, critic for Child and Youth Services, is calling on the Ford government to fully fund Ontario programs for children with autism instead of cutting services for families.
“The waitlist of children and their families desperate for services has now reached a shocking 30,000 children," said Taylor. "We are constantly hearing from families across Ontario about the financial hardship, and the daily stress of their child not getting the critical services they need.
"It's shameful that the Liberals spent 15 years letting the waits get longer and longer. Now, parents are worried that the coming changes from the Doug Ford government will mean artificially taking people off the wait lists by cutting the services people receive."
Families of children with autism know that the current Ontario Autism Program system is broken, but families and community advocates are worried that the upcoming changes will make it worse for them. Ford has already started a program of deep cuts, including $330 million from mental health funding, $25 million from classroom education, and a 1.5 per cent cut to OW and ODSP rates for 2019.
Parents of children with autism oppose age cut-offs; and inadequate, inequitable flat-rate funding that doesn't take clinical needs into account. Those changes would only artificially reduce waitlists by reducing services for everyone. The Wynne government tried to do just that in 2016. Families, autism advocates and Ontario’s NDP fought back.
"Children with autism deserve an inclusive, fully funded OAP that meets the needs of families and children – without the wait.”