Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Number of Children Awaiting Autism Treatment Balloons

A media release from NDP Leader, Andrea Horwath. Thank you Andrea for continuing to fight on behalf of our children:


Number of Children Awaiting Autism Treatment Balloons

location: Queen's Park
date: October 26, 2009 - 1:00pm
body:
Ontario’s NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is citing more troubling facts concerning the McGuinty government’s approach to treating Ontario children with autism.

“The government is cutting off more children from IBI when schools are not able to provide the therapy. Instead of funding treatment, the government is allowing waiting lists to balloon and children to languish,” Horwath said in the Ontario Legislature today after revealing the government’s latest quarterly numbers for April to June, 2009.

Compared to the previous quarter, 1,649 children are now waiting for IBI therapy. That’s 136 more than previously reported (1, 513) and a 9 per cent increase in just three months.

“When will parents see adequate service levels and proper funding for children’s autism treatment?” Horwath demanded of Minister of Children and Youth Services Laurel Broten. “It has been six years. These children and these families cannot wait any longer for this government to get its act together when it comes to the autism file.”

The government is cutting off more children from IBI even though schools are not able to provide the therapy, Horwath said. The latest quarterly statistics from the ministry show another 114 children were abruptly cut off.

“The regular quarterly numbers don’t lie. Why are more children with autism waiting for treatment, and why are more children having their autism suddenly cut off and terminated?” Horwath said. “The McGuinty government’s autism program is not living up to the Premier’s promise of ensuring children with autism receive treatment regardless of their age.”

Horwath, the MPP for Hamilton Centre, recently brought the autism file into her portfolio as Ontario’s NDP Critic for Children and Youth Service.


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From House Hansard 10/26/09. The new Minister of Children and Youth Services has spoken:

AUTISM TREATMENT




Ms. Andrea Horwath: My question is to the Minister of Children and Youth Services. According to her ministry's most recent quarterly numbers, the McGuinty government's autism program is not living up to the Premier's promise of ensuring that children with autism receive treatment regardless of their age. The IBI/ABA numbers for April through June 2009 continue to be troubling. Compared to the previous quarter, 1,649 children are waiting for IBI, 136 more than previously reported, and another 114 children have been abruptly cut off.
Why are more children with autism waiting for treatment, and why are more children having their treatment suddenly cut off and terminated?

1100


Hon. Laurel C. Broten: This is a file where I'm very pleased to be able to build on the work that's been done by our government and a variety of Ministers of Children and Youth Services since we took office in 2003. We've made a lot of progress. Kids are getting the help they need, we've expanded those services, and we're working to make sure that families also have the support they need. We're working to maintain that progress and push ahead, working with parents and experts. Over the last couple of years, we've been examining how we can do better for our kids in Ontario.
I had the opportunity last week to visit Surrey Place and speak directly with the experts and find out how they think we can best help kids in Ontario. There is more work to do-there is always more work to do. We continue to build on the efforts that we've put in place to make sure that Ontario kids get everything they need from our education system and that envelope of services around them.


The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: It's been six years. These children and these families cannot wait any longer for this government to get its act together when it comes to the autism file.
The regular quarterly numbers don't lie. The government is cutting off more children from IBI when schools are not able to provide the therapy. Instead of funding treatment, the government is allowing waiting lists to balloon and children to languish. When will parents see adequate service levels and proper funding for children's autism treatment?


Hon. Laurel C. Broten: I want to put some key facts on the table. We removed the previous government's age 6 cut-off and more than tripled autism spending, from $44 million to $165 million. We've more than doubled the number of kids getting IBI treatment-more than 1,300 now, up from just over 500 four years ago. We've introduced respite programs that serve almost 7,000 kids. The growing waiting list is not acceptable. That's why we've put more resources into the system.
But I would say that the numbers being brought forward by the leader of the opposition are consistent with numbers that we've seen in the past: 114 kids have completed* the services for IBI, and we now have 1,262 kids receiving that service.

We need to get service to more kids. We need to broaden that continuum of support. That's why we're working with world-renowned experts like Peter Szatmari and Nancy Freeman and why we've brought that group of expertise to the table to make sure that kids in our schools get the treatment-


The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. New question.


*Sebastian was one of those kids that "completed" the services. There is nothing more I can do but "congratulate" our government for "completing" its difficult job.

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