McGuinty Government Strengthening Mental Health Services To Children And Youth

    $24.5 Million In New Investments Will Help Thousands Of Young Ontarians

    QUEEN'S PARK, April 3 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is strengthening
mental health services for children and youth through new investments of $24.5
million to address gaps in local service needs and reduce wait times, Minister
of Children and Youth Services Mary Anne Chambers announced today.
    "Our government is committed to providing children and youth with special
needs, including mental health challenges, with the support they need to
achieve their potential like other children and youth," said Chambers. "We
believe it is important for children, youth and their families to access
supports and services as close to home as possible."

    The additional investment will be shared among community-based
organizations that provide services to children and youth with social and
behavioural problems, mental health disorders and other special needs,
including autism spectrum disorders (ASD), in three ways:

    -   A five per cent increase in base annual funding to child and youth
        mental health agencies across the province, totalling $18 million, to
        reduce wait times and help address cost pressures
    -   $4.5 million in regional annual allocations to address community
        priorities based on the ministry's new Policy Framework for Child and
        Youth Mental Health; investment decisions will be made through a
        collaborative, community-based process
    -   $2 million annually that would enable agencies to provide immediate
        children's mental health support when a local community is faced with
        an extraordinary crisis or circumstance.

    Through this additional funding, the government is building on its
previous investments in more than 260 child and youth mental health agencies
and 17 hospital-based outpatient programs. As of this year, the government
will have increased funding for these services by nearly $80 million since

    Ontario's Budget 2007 includes additional investments that will build on
and benefit children and youth with special needs and their families,

    -   $4 million more for Children's Treatment Centres starting this year,
        on top of $10 million announced in the 2006 budget, increasing the
        government's total annual funding to these centres by nearly
        $30 million since 2003-04
    -   Increased funding to approximately $130 million, nearly tripling the
        support for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their
        families since 2003-04, as well as supports for more teachers,
        therapists and coordinators
    -   More than doubled the number of children receiving autism
        intervention services since 2003, resulting in more than
        1,100 children receiving these services
    -   Expanding opportunity by providing more assistance to children in
        lower income families through the $2.1 billion Ontario Child Benefit.

    "Local community agencies are an important part of a continuum of services
that help provide young people with special needs the opportunities to reach
their full potential," said Chambers. "Our government is working hard on many
fronts to make a real difference for our province's most vulnerable young
people and to respond sooner to their families' needs and the community's
needs in a holistic approach"

    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Tricia Edgar, Minister's Office, (416)
212-7161, (416) 573-7728 (Cell); Anne Machowski-Smith, Ministry of Children
and Youth Services, (416) 325-5156

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