Updated: Jan 26
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Hamilton, Ontario - December 17, 2021
On December 3rd, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services made an announcement regarding the status of various aspects of the Ontario Autism Program (OAP).
The Independent Intake Organization (IIO) was named with Accerta Services Inc. as the lead agency, and McMaster University, Autism Ontario, and HealthCare 365 acting as partners. This IIO will be responsible for administering the OAP. With its launch in 2022, we hope that the IIO will rectify the processing delays that have frustrated families, work to decrease the backlog of registrations and reconciliations, and expedite the transition to Core Clinical Services.
We are pleased to see that invitations to the Entry to School Program will finally be sent out in January 2022. Transitions can be difficult for autistic individuals. So, a program that will help support them is welcome.
The Ministry indicated that those with existing behaviour plans ("legacy kids") will have the option to enter Core Clinical Services in the order that they registered in the OAP or extend their plans until spring 2023, at which time they will begin to transition. We acknowledge that some families are concerned that their child's needs will not be met. But, Core Clinical Services does offer more options for support than its predecessor, the “legacy program”. And, those who are still under DSO (Direct Service Option) whose hours have been decreased substantially may finally be able to access the services they need.
While it was announced that eleven organizations have been identified to lead Urgent Response Services, it's not yet known who they are. It's also not clear how families will be able to access Urgent Response Services or when. Crisis supports are desperately needed. We hope that the information slated to come in 2022 will be encouraging.
When the government introduced the Autism Workforce Capacity Action Plan in July, we were pleased to see that a Workforce Capacity Fund was being provided to help with capacity building efforts. There are many regions and groups that are under-served. The recent announcement that the first set of grants have been awarded is good news. While there will more opportunities for providers to apply in 2022 and 2023, a lot more must be done to increase the number of professionals in the field to support more families.
The complexity of creating a brand new provincial program from the ground up in the midst of a pandemic cannot be understated. The delays over the past two years have been very frustrating and stressful for families and their allies. Going into the new year, we hope to see more progress with the OAP's implementation, and we will continue to support and guide families on their journeys.
For more information, please contact our team at balanceSSCS@gmail.com
Balance Support & Self Care Studios was created with parents and caregivers of individuals with diverse needs in mind. We recognize the value of the staff and community. We are committed to striving for excellence through inclusiveness, team collaboration, quality of services, and the participation and contributions of volunteers and community members. To learn more, please check out our website
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