Ombudsman Report Highlights Systemic Issues Need Addressing

TORONTO, Aug. 25, 2016 /CNW/ - The Ontario Ombudsman's Report, Nowhere to Turn, has highlighted systemic issues in the access and crisis situation response in the developmental services system that have resulted in gaps in service for adults with a developmental disability across Ontario, particularly those with challenging and complex support needs.

"Sadly, the report highlights thousands of individuals and families who are desperate for services. Agencies have been working in partnership with people needing supports and their families, and have been working closely with the Minister and her staff, to expand capacity and provide effective services," says Janet Noel-Annable, Chair of the Provincial Network.

Yesterday'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 safe and inclusive. Increasing specialized services is critical in ensuring effective services. These are welcome recommendations, and it is important that families and agencies are included to ensure that planning is holistic, nimble and meets peoples' needs appropriately. 

We were also pleased to see many recommendations on increasing flexibility to agencies so that they can respond more effectively to crisis situations. "Too often a person will go into crisis and a crisis placement is not available," says Noel-Annable,"Being able to utilize a current vacancy to provide temporary support, and keeping crisis resources available will help tremendously in reducing inappropriate placement of people with developmental disabilities."

Services for citizens who have a developmental or intellectual disability are not solely the responsibility of the Ministry of Community and Social Services, and we are encouraged to see the recognition and request for other ministries to be involved in these solutions. We look forward to collaboration across government to see the Ombudsman's recommendations realized.

Our partners have been working closely with the Ministry for several years now and on improving the system and working together to eliminate waitlists, make services sustainable, safe and community-based. We look forward to our continued work towards our collective vision that in Ontario people live independently with full inclusion in all aspects of society. We applaud Minister Jaczek for accepting all of the recommendations in the Ombudsman's report.

About the Provincial Network
The Provincial Network on Developmental Services represents over 300 non-profit agencies throughout Ontario, consisting of membership from Christian Horizons, Community Living Ontario, Faith and Culture Inclusion Network, Great Lakes Society, Toronto Developmental Services Alliance (TDSA – formerly MARC),  Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs (OASIS), Community Networks of Specialized Care, Developmental Services Ontario Provincial Network and the Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities (OADD) . Together we are a network of grass roots volunteer organizations that have played a vital role in the building of inclusive communities throughout the province.

SOURCE Community Living Toronto

For further information: Karen Bell, Community Living Toronto, 416.568.5010

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