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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Autism Program Changing

Regional | by Phil DeLand  

Lisa MacLeod announced some changes are coming to clear up waiting lists and help children get service.

New funding from the Ontario Government will clear autism services wait lists and provide direct financial supports for families.

Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod made the announcement today. 

The families of 23,000 children currently struggling on waitlist's for the Ontario Autism Program will receive financial supports to help them afford autism services.

MacLeod said there will be a widespread reform of the Ontario Autism Program designed to clear the waitlist, and provide equality and sustainability to the program.

She said it will allow families of children and youth with autism to receive better service.

Families may receive a Childhood Budget until their child turns 18, under the new reforms.

MacLeod said the amount of the budget will depend on the length of time a child will be in the program, with supports targeted to lower and middle-income families.  

Families will be able to choose to purchase the eligible services they value most, including behavioural services, from providers of their choice on a fee-for-service basis.

She said parents will also have flexibility when it comes to how funds are allocated.

 A new framework will also be put in place to assist in navigating the system and support parents in making the best decision for their family.

Other reforms include doubling funding to expand the province’s five diagnostic hubs so that families can receive a diagnosis sooner.

The introduction of a provider list to help families find qualified clinical supervisors for behavioural services.

Establishing an independent agency to bring families into the program, help them manage their funding and assist them in purchasing services.

And improving how services are delivered so families have confidence in providers and the service system.

In order to be eligible for the Ontario Autism Program, a child must have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder from a qualified professional.

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