The budget announcement brought good news for children and families across the province.
Here is a summary for Children's Treatment Centres, provided by the Ontario Association for Children's Rehabilitation Services (OACRS).
The 2016 Ontario Budget contains important information and support for the children's rehabilitation sector. Under the heading, "Towards a Fair Society," there are two major announcements that commit to significant investments for our families with children and youth with special needs:
Special Needs Strategy page 128
The government expressed its commitment to providing comprehensive resources and support for children and youth with special and complex needs and stated that the Special Needs Strategy will move forward with a $17.8M investment over the next three years. This investment will support:
* Enhanced complex needs services transition and integrated delivery of rehabilitation services by hiring 68 more service planning coordinators.
* Establishing up to seven more Regional Service Resolution Agencies to review and allocate funding for children with multiple and/or complex special needs.
Autism Services page 129
The government is committed to a redesign and consolidation of autism services so that more children and youth receive critical interventions sooner and achieve improved outcomes through services that are better matched to their needs. With an investment of $333M over five years, the government will:
* Implement consistent clinical decision-making criteria to narrow the focus of Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) so that it is delivered to more children and in the appropriate development window.
* Transition older children currently waiting for and receiving IBI to a more appropriate and individualized service, based on research evidence.
* Expand Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) services by increasing the intensity and duration of ABA, to provide more children and youth at all developmental stages with services that are more responsive to their individual needs.
* Expand early intervention services to complement the redesign of IBI and ABA, and ensure young children receive support as early as possible.
Other notable announcements:
Child Care and Education page 77
* Creating approximately 4,000 new licensed child care spaces in local schools to give children the opportunity to transition more easily into full-day kindergarten. These new spaces will be built in areas of high demand and will enhance the access to quality child care options for families.
Employment Strategy for people with Disabilities page 137
Over the next year, the government will develop a provincial employment strategy to people with disabilities that will
* Establish a vision with goals, priorities and desired outcomes to ensure access to a continuum of employment and training services.
* Provide a better service experience through streamlined access to employment and training services that recognize the varied needs and employment goals of individual clients.
* Engage employers as active partners in breaking down employment barriers for people with disabilities and promoting inclusive workplaces.
Children's Treatment Network (CTN) will continue to update all families as more information becomes available in the months to come.