Crisis… For Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

Absence of Residential Care Discussed With Candidates

October 7, 2007

meeting with candidatesA number of parents from Lanark County who have been waiting patiently but in quiet desperation for residential care for their adult children with intellectual disabilities spoke with candidates in the provincial election recently. They met with Randy Hillier (Progressive Conservative) and Ian Wilson (Liberal) at Rimmer House in Perth on October 1st and 5th.

These parents have provided loving and committed care to their children for many..many years. One 82 year old mother had not spent a night away from her, Down syndrome son for 39 years. She spoke of her quiet despair and declining hope for the future for her son once she passes on. “There seems to be no place for him to go” she said. Another family with ailing and aging parents, who have cared for their Down syndrome daughter for 33 years, told of how they had to sell their farm to provide adequate care situation for their loved one with disabilities. They have been waiting for well over 8 years, all the time their health keeps deteriorating. Another single parent with a 21 year old child with multiple disabilities was denied a full time career at a rural post office because she could not find care for her son. Her daughter was, required to quit high school to support her disabled brother. The family continues to live in poverty, working at part time jobs, trying to piece together a life for themselves, tucked away in rural Ontario; another family forgotten and taken for granted. All the parents at the meetings stressed that their children could not be left alone… “they need supportive living arrangements like there is here at Rimmer House, Perth”

Another parent told of raising two disabled children, one with severe autism the other Asperger  syndrome, and now that they are reaching 18 and 21, they leave the children’s system and enter the adult system, where the answers from the government is always the same :  there is no money ….sorry you are going to have to wait. Meanwhile, her family has already broken down once due to the stress of the care and she is trying to rebuild her family again with a new partner. “I am just loosing hope….there just does not seem to be any hope” she said. We love our children and want the best for them but the government ignores us and just takes us for granted “.  “There needs to be a place for my son… he cannot be left alone… he needs the care a group home will provide”. These are just some of the 100’s of stories that must be told in rural Eastern Ontario.

There is the case of the single father, himself disabled, who has cared for his son for 19 years, but that he is grown and become a physically healthy and strong. This young man displays uncontrollable behaviours that put himself and his father at risk of serious harm. Agencies are going into debt to try and find appropriate residential care for this young man but by November 2007 he will be homeless with no place to go. This single father is frantic with stress

A concerned father tells of how his wife has stayed home for 19 years to care for their 19 year-old non verbal autistic son. “Our daughter is currently taking her PhD … we must lock all the doors and watch our son constantly ….this shows it can happen to anybody…. We are getting so .. so .. tired”.

Another single mother told of her non verbal, Down syndrome son who needs orthotics to walk… a touch screened computer to communicate and  renovations to the house so he could get  in and out ……” I had to borrow thousand and thousands of dollars to do it…. Then someone tells me there are  government programs that would have funded it …it is too late now ..I live in a small town we never hear of these things…. if my son was in prison he would get the things he needs…. we are treated as my if son does not exist…where is the fairness? ” !

Anger and frustration builds within these parents when,  they realize that those families “God Forbid… and my heart goes out to them” one parent said, who have released their children to institutions like the Rideau Regional Centre or the Children’s Aide Society…”when these children and individuals need a group home as they reach adulthood, money is no object for the government, and they jump the cue”…“We are left waiting, we have saved the government millions and millions of dollars … and now when our children need the government’s help they say our children don’t count…doesn’t anybody care??”

Lanark County has over 180 requests for supports for individuals with intellectual disabilities, 22 of which need residential care. In the Constituency of Lanark-Frontenac, Lennox-Addington, there are well over 500 individuals on the list and well over 100 families waiting for residential care. This does not even account for the over 400 children coming through the system in Lanark County who will be adults soon. This is a crisis of care. The parents hope the elected representative will take their concerns to Queens Park. Their representative can raise the issue in caucus, raise it in committees and raise it in the house. They need an advocate in Toronto and they have committed to not let the politicians forget about them any more.

More information please contact

Dave Hagerman

Tayside Community Residential and Support Options

Perth, Ontario

613-264-953       x 102

Web site:

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