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Press Releases

2010-04-20

Province Boosts Funding for Children with Special Needs Across the Greater Ottawa Region

Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre welcomes increased funding for child/youth developmental and rehabilitation services.

 

The Ontario Association of Children's Rehabilitation Services (OACRS), along with the Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre (OCTC), are very pleased with the announcement made by the Minister of Children and Youth Services, Laurel Broten, allocating new funding for Ontario's children with special needs. As part of the government's plan to help kids with special needs succeed, OCTC will receive an additional $909,000 in 2010-11. This investment is part of $9 million per year for the next three years that will support 20 centres across Ontario.

"Children's treatment centres are an important part of how Ontario is helping young people with disabilities and special needs achieve their full potential. This additional investment will help serve more children faster, as close to home as possible."

- Laurel Broten, Minister of Children and Youth Services

Every year across the province more than 73,000 children, youth and families seek rehabilitation services to meet a variety of physical, communication and developmental needs. Services provided by the centres include specialized treatments such as physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, seating and communication clinics, and recreational supports. This money will add much-needed resources to every centre in the province.

Kathleen Stokely, Chief Executive Officer of OCTC, said this funding shows a strong commitment by the government to support the range of clinical and support services offered by OCTC. "Children and youth with complex physical and developmental disabilities are supported by specialized therapies and programs that are staffed by our dedicated professionals. These therapies and programs are invaluable to the children and their families." Stokely added, "Given the new resources, OCTC will be quickly moving forward with plans to address waiting times and improve access to therapies."

Here in the Champlain region, OCTC serves annually 3,400 children and youth with disabilities, such as autism or cerebral palsy. Caroline Stone, a parent and OCTC board member, said, "This funding enhancement is timely and very welcomed by the children and youth and their families who need OCTC's critical developmental and rehabilitation assessment and treatment services. Support of this kind reinforces that all kids are important and that treatment centres such as OCTC are pivotal community resources.”

OCTC Board Chair, JP Boisclair noted with pleasure the high level of affirmation and engagement shown by local/regional MPP's in OCTC's catchment area in order to secure this funding as a high priority.

"The government has shown great leadership with regard to Ontario's children with special needs and their families," said Paula Grail, Board Chair of OACRS "On behalf of more than 73,000 children, youth and families with special needs, we want to publicly thank the government." Grail, the mother of a seven-year-old son with special needs, said, "I know from personal experience the difference it can make in the life of a child when families can rely on vital services being available when needed. Since he was three months old, my son has benefitted from the expertise available at our local children's centre. I am thankful that more families can have the same experience we have had."

"With the continued pressure of increasing wait lists and wait times, children and families have been waiting for services," said Linda Kenny, OACRS' Chief Executive Officer. "Today's announcement means that at least 3,600 of those children will get the services and supports that they need. This is a good news story for each and every one of those kids."

Thanks to earlier diagnosis and more sophisticated therapies, the number of children needing treatment will only continue to grow, noted Grail. "There are children yet to be diagnosed and even yet to be born who will need the services provided by children's treatment centres to succeed in school and in life. We hope that today's announcement is an acknowledgement that these children can continue to rely on the government's support as they strive to reach their potential."

OCTC also received $34,300 in capital funding in 2009-10 to make necessary repairs or renovations. As one of 12 partner centres, it will also share in the $2.5 million, one-time funding in 2010-11 for an information management systems project. This new system will facilitate registration, scheduling of appointments, and overall communication with clients and their families, as well as staff working out of six locations across the region. The system is expected to be an efficient business tool for all staff and improve the client experience as they interact with us on a regular basis.

A client of OCTC, 16-year-old Shannon was thrilled to hear about the extra funding: "It is wonderful news that the government has recognized how important OCTC is in helping kids with extra challenges participate in our community, allowing us to be the best that each of us can be. I truly believe it was the start that I got at OCTC that has given me the skills to succeed in my local school and as a member of my community, which is where I belong."

The Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre (OCTC) is a leader in providing specialized care for those with multiple physical, developmental, and associated behavioural needs, focusing on our region's children and youth.  We exemplify community partnership, maximizing integration and independence for clients and their families. 

For more information, please contact:

Anne Huot
Director of Client Programs & Information
Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre
2211 Thurston Drive
(613) 688-2126 x 4344