ISSUE OF PASSPORTS FUNDING IN ONTARIO

It has become known this past week that there is no new money for the Passports initiative for 2008 in
Ontario. This means those on the waiting list will not be considered and there will be no new individuals funded.  To stop funding a program that has been so helpful and yet so underfunded already is very worrisome.


If you are concerned about the Transformation agenda and ensuring people have choices, please consider:
a) Supporting the event at Queen's Park on May 26;

b) Writing a letter immediately to the Minister. You might base it on the model provided by Family Alliance Ontario (see foot of this page), adding further details you may know in your community and region.  


An Invitation To:
Ontario Families to Respond and Participate at Queen's Park
The Issue:

        Thousands of Ontario Families are supporting an adult at home with a Developmental Disability. In May 2007, the Minister of Community and Social Services announced a $200M budget for Developmental Services. Out of that budget only $9M went to people with developmental disabilities and their families to hire support workers to enable their child to participation in community life. The remainder of the funding went to the "revitalization of traditional agency infrastructure and wages." The Minister promised a "transformation" of developmental services to enable people with developmental disabilities to live more meaningful lives of independence and citizenship. Pouring millions of dollars into the old system and then allowing the largest provider of support in this province ‘the family’ to reach a crisis will not accomplish ‘transformation’.
 
     The Passport Program, the only program that provides direct funding to persons with developmental disabilities and their families to hire support workers to enable participation in community life, has been devastatingly under funded. Across the province the statistics are available, in Toronto 400 families applied and there was funding available for 33 people. Our children are leaving high school at age 21 and ending up at home on the couch. Parents are quitting jobs and redirecting respite funds and retirement funds to hire support to insure their son’s and daughters have some meaningful daytime activities or are simply ‘safe’ at home on the couch.
 
The Response:
      Christine Elliot, M.P.P. Whitby-Oshawa has listened to our concerns and will enlist the support of Sylvia Jones, M.P.P. of Dufferin-Calendon and opposition critic, to bring this crisis up with questions during the morning session of the Ontario Legislature on
Monday May 26, 2008.   There will be a press release prior to the session to inform the broader community of this crisis and to encourage public support for thousands of Ontario families who simply want a life for their children when high school ends. Support to help insure they are off the couch and out in the community and participating.  
 
The Invitation:
Families are invited to come to Queens Park on May 26, 2008 at 10:00AM to fill the gallery at the Ontario Legislature and support Christine and Sylvia in raising questions about the issues related to the Passport Program. Please RSVP your attendance at Queens Park by May 19.
RSVP to:

Cindy Mitchell                                              Helen Dionne
Passport Funding Action Group                  Durham Family Network
(905) 723-8111                                           (905) 436-2500 ext 2222
e-mail cmitchellworks@rogers.com         e-mail hdionne@dafrs.com


Some Passport Funding Statistics
This information was provided to Family Alliance Ontario Fall 07 by Alex Bezzina ADM Program Management Division for the Ministry of Children and Youth Services/Ministry of Community and Social Services.
 
Provincially:
Applications                              2890
Passport funding granted     254
On Waiting List                         2636
 
 

Information provided from CSCN—Community Services Coordination Network
in Southwest Region: 
An allocation of $139,558.00 was announced for the 5 Counties.
 
Applications Received by June 15th by county as follows:
          Elgin:                      17 new +   4 =  21  (4 applications on file since Aug. 06)
          Oxford:                   12 new +   6 =  18
          Huron:                    13 new +   1 =  14
          Perth:                     12 new + 48 =   60
          London-Middlesex:  51 new + 98 = 149
 
Total Applications:  262  (105 new applications; 157 on file since Aug. 06)
 
The following is a breakdown by county of the allocation, including the number of individuals we expect to serve with this allocation:
          Elgin:                      $17,125.00   (1)
          Oxford:                   $20,872.00   (2)
          Huron:                    $13,008.00   (1)
          Perth:                     $14,676.00   (1)
          London-Middlesex:  $73,877.00   (6)


The Family Alliance Letter (please adapt/write your own to the Minister)

Honourable Madeleine Meilleur
Minister of Community and Social Services
Hepburn Block, 6th Floor
80 Grosvenor St.                                                             
Toronto  ON  M7A 1E9
email: mmeilleur.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
FAX:
416-325-5191
 
May 2008
 
Dear Minister,
 
The Family Alliance Ontario is appealing to you to begin immediate funding for Special Services At Home and the Passport program.  These two programs offer support to families who raise their children at home and are desperately needed to enable families to continue to do this. 
 
When Passport was introduced three years ago it was funded at $11 million; the following year that amount was reduced to $6 million; this year there is no funding at all. 
 
Every year the need for support through SSAH increases.  Areas of the province have had to go into deficit situations to help desperate families.  Families who will not receive Passport funding are especially hard hit. 
 
The lack of funding in these two vital programs, the only programs where families can direct funds, is shocking.  Families applying for these funds on behalf of their sons and daughters are already carrying a huge amount of responsibility for the daily life and activities of their children.  Denying these families funding will push them into crises that may mean the heart-breaking placement of their children in facilities that would never be their choice.  This would result in shattered families and huge expense to government. 
 
We urge an immediate and meaningful infusion of funds to theses two programs before we begin reading more tragic stories in the newspapers.
 
Please act now.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Jan Burke-Gaffney
President