February 21, 2014

Helping DSO support families

In 2011, the Ontario government created Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) to make it easier for adults with a developmental disability and their families to apply for services. Previously, families often had to visit multiple community agencies and complete multiple applications when looking for support.

The government is now helping DSO strengthen its ability to support families. This includes:

  • identifying areas of strength and areas that need improvement
  • codifying best practices to achieve consistent, high-quality service delivery across the province
  • looking at how DSO supports individuals and families through the assessment process, and how the application process could be streamlined, and
  • looking at ways that DSO can better connect individuals with a developmental disability to available community resources.

The government will also support regional Developmental Services Ontario organizations to learn from one another’s successes to accelerate service improvements across Ontario.

Finding New Housing Options

Based on the recommendations of developmental services partners, the government is creating the Developmental Services Housing Task Force – the first ever cross-sector task force to tackle housing issues specifically for adults with developmental disabilities The task force will bring together provincial ministries, municipal and community partners, and social services and housing experts to find innovative housing solutions.

Working within a two-year mandate, the task force will:

  • develop a framework for capacity-building projects and identify demonstration projects for possible government investment and evaluation
  • recommend a minimum of five projects to implement in 2014/15, and
  • create online resources to help individuals and families access information, network, collaborate and support each other in exploring and creating successful housing solutions.

Increasing Jobs, Inclusion, Independence and Innovation

Ontario is also investing nearly $3 million in projects that aim to find creative ways of increasing community inclusion and job prospects, and promoting independence and innovative service delivery for people with developmental disabilities.

These funds will support projects from across the province that encourage alternatives to traditional models of support, such as day programs, and promote the inclusion and employment of adults with developmental disabilities. The funding will also support innovative practices proven successful in previous pilot projects and identify new practices to evaluate and learn from. Examples of proposed initiatives include:

  • summer youth employment programs
  • competitive employment opportunities in the community
  • pre-employment training
  • volunteer matching
  • social enterprises
  • pilot college certificate program
  • employer awareness initiatives, and
  • training for organizations providing employment supports.

These initiatives will serve individuals with a range of needs and circumstances, including:

  • individuals with autism
  • individuals who also have complex health and physical challenges
  • youth transitioning from high school
  • post-secondary students, and
  • other adults with developmental disabilities.

Also, the funds will be used for projects that support innovative partnerships, develop best practices and improve service delivery. These projects will:

  • help develop service delivery models that demonstrate a modern approach to providing service and enhance service delivery through partnerships across the sector, and/or
  • change service delivery in ways that achieve cost savings, allowing reinvestment of funds into service.