Ombudsman Report Stresses New Plan Is Needed

TORONTO, Aug. 24, 2016 /CNW/ - The Ontario Ombudsman's Report, Nowhere to Turn has highlighted systemic issues in the developmental services system that have resulted in gaps in service for individuals across Toronto and Ontario, particularly those with challenging behaviours.

"Sadly, the report highlights how many families have been let down and left in crisis, resulting in some horrible cases of neglect, abuse and total burnout. In Toronto over 4500 individuals and their families are on the wait list for residential services and 200 individuals were identified last year as being in urgent need.  For several years now we have been working in partnership with individuals and their families, agencies and government and donors to expand capacity and increase access to services," says Brad Saunders, Chief Executive Officer, "Increased flexibility in utilizing our resources and being involved early with people in crisis will help the system be more responsive and supportive." 

Today's announcement stresses the need for increased partnership and collaboration between ministries to ensure that people with complex needs, such as a developmental disability and a mental illness or fragile medical condition, are served appropriately in a community setting that is appropriate and safe. Increasing specialized services is critical in ensuring safe, supported services. These are welcome recommendations, and it is important that families and agencies are included to ensure that planning is holistic, flexible and meets peoples' needs appropriately. 

We were also pleased to see recommendations on vacancy reporting, and allowing flexibility to use an agency vacancy to support someone who is in need of crisis support. "Too often an individual will go into crisis and occupy what is referred to as a crisis bed, of which there are only 8 in Toronto," says Saunders, "What often happens is that person ends up staying beyond the short term, so when someone else goes into crisis there is no room for them. Being able to utilize a vacancy to move someone into temporary support, freeing up a crisis bed will help tremendously."

We look forward to continuing to work with the Ministry of Community and Social Services to support the recommendations outlined in the Ombudsman's report. As well, we will continue to work with our partners to ensure families have access to resources, such as to connect with each other and with tools they can use.

About Community Living Toronto
Since 1948 Community Living Toronto has been a grassroots leader in developing community-based services and supports for people with an intellectual disability and their family. One of the largest organizations of its kind in Canada, Community Living Toronto provides services and support to over 6,000 people and their families across Toronto. Our mission is to change the lives of people with an intellectual disability by giving them a voice, and supporting their choices where they live, learn, work and play.

SOURCE Community Living Toronto

For further information: Karen Bell, Manager Policy & Stakeholder Relations, 416.568.5010

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