Press Remarks: Hundreds of families on waiting list for disabled for years

Remarks by Dave Hagerman
Press Conference
Perth Ontario
May 11, 2011

Hundreds of families in the South East Region of Ontario have been waiting on the list for supports for their intellectually disabled family members for years. In 2008 there were 328 individuals on the waiting list for some form of residential supports. By 2011 this list has grown by almost 100 individuals to 427.  In 2008 there were 120 individuals waiting for day supports by 2011 this number had grown to 231.

Many of these families have been on the list for years and they are losing hope that the provincial Government will ever listen to their plight. The long wait and lack of services has a tremendous impact on families. The lack of support creates huge stresses affecting families, requiring parents to quit their jobs ,It leads to  family breakups ….it causes huge stresses on other siblings …the indications of the debilitating effects of the  stress go on and on.

The Social Services at Home (SSAH) funding program has not approved an application in four years , there have been  no new group homes built to provide service to the community waiting list in years… and the list of families that need residential care options keeps growing . Parents who are in their 80 who need to plan for their disabled children are told they have to wait , parents with children who have been funded through the children’s system and school system are told when their sons and daughters reach 21 their funding has disappeared and they will have to wait and cope . Parents have described the situation as coming to the edge of a  cliff and the Provincial government pushes you over… and then the Provincial Government  says good luck fend for yourself  …

Parents must wait for day programs to replace the school experience which was provided to their children as a right when they were in the education system but are told they must wait when their sons and daughters become adults.
The provincial government has provided some funding but it is not enough to come close to meet need and is just a finger in the collapsing dike. Part of the new funding is $20 million dollar program to set up yet another bureaucracy to create yet another application process to force parents to wait in yet another waiting list.

The Provincial government has also frozen funding to agencies who are trying to provide the services that do exisit.0% increases in the past two years, cutbacks in administration costs, requirements to do more with less have been the direction for the past three years. The system serving the most vulnerable of our community is crumbling around us.
Dave Hagerman

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