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More Money for Child Protection

June 27, 2005 permalink

The Ontario Government has announced more money for severe special needs (handicaped) children. Near the end it says that 35 families in this category have had their parental rights restored. This part at least sounds like good news, though not a single name has come up publicly or privately. Once attention moves away from this issue, the additional funds will only increase the baby bounty.



McGuinty Government Helping More Children With Severe Special Needs

Part Of Long-Term Plan To Improve Services For Special Needs Children And Youth

QUEEN'S PARK, June 27 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is committing an additional $10 million to help more children and youth with severe special needs receive services faster, Children and Youth Services Minister Marie Bountrogianni announced today.

"This measure is another step in our long-term plan to improve and expand services for families of special needs children across the province," Bountrogianni said. "We're working hard on many fronts to build a co-ordinated system that supports families long before their situations become critical, and that provides relief to those families that do reach an acute stage."

The government is providing an additional $10 million to respond to the needs of families in crisis and provide specialized supports where they are needed most. The extra funding comes on top of more than $100 million in new investments that have begun to make a difference for children and youth with special needs across the province. This includes building children's treatment centres in parts of the province that didn't have one and providing more services locally through more than 200 new and expanded community mental health programs.

"We are acting on the advice of community planning teams across the province that have first-hand knowledge of services for special needs children and families," said Bountrogianni. "The money will help provide a combination of residential treatment and other specialized supports for children and youth who urgently require care."

Community planning teams made up of special needs service providers, parents and other stakeholders were established by the ministry in April to recommend strategies to expand and improve services so more children and youth can get help in their home communities. The government is also conducting a review of the residential service system across all sectors to determine what specific measures are needed to improve that system for children, youth and families across the province.

"We have to integrate and collaborate across many sectors in order to improve services for children with special needs," said John Flannery, Executive Director of Surrey Place Centre, which participated in the ministry's community planning team for Toronto. "These planning teams pulled together government, parents, educators, health professionals and others to address both immediate service pressures and wider system improvements which will have longer-term impacts for families."

The increased funding also builds on the government's recent actions to help parents who had relinquished custody of their children with special needs to children's aid societies. Under the government's direction, children's aid societies and other community agencies have worked with those parents over the past month to help them regain custody of their children without disruption to the specialized services and care their children receive. To date, 35 families have had their parental custody restored.

"We know that increased spending alone is not the solution," Bountrogianni said. "That's why we are moving forward with our plans to fundamentally improve the current system so that special needs services are more accessible, better co-ordinated and centred on the needs of children and their families."

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