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A New Vision for Developmental Services

Most people who have a developmental disability live in the community in a variety of settings. Some live with their parents or relatives, others live in group homes and some live in their own home or apartment with varying degrees of support.

However, living in the community does not necessarily mean a person is fully accepted or seen as a member of that community. Government needs to support individuals who have a developmental disability and their families in their efforts to participate fully as citizens.

To help people realize their potential and promote greater inclusion, the future course of developmental services in Ontario is based on six underlying principles:

  1. Citizenship — supports for people who have a developmental disability promote self-determination and participation in all aspects of community life.
  2. Fairness and equity — supports are equitable and people with similar situations receive similar supports across the province.
  3. Accessibility and portability — funding and supports are flexible and go with the person if he/she moves to another community.
  4. Safety and security — supports are designed to balance appropriate supervision, especially for those who are most at risk, with the right to self-determination, privacy and confidentiality.
  5. Accountability — service delivery will include mechanisms to hold service providers accountable to the people using their services and the ministry for the quality and outcome of the supports they offer.
  6. Sustainability — funding and supports are based on assessed needs and available resources in the context of a long-range plan for the developmental services system.

To meet these objectives, the ministry's strategy to transform the developmental services sector focuses on the key issues people have identified as areas of concern to them, from social attitudes that make it difficult for people with a developmental disability to belong and participate as full members of their communities to more flexible funding arrangements that give people greater choice in the supports they use and where they get them.

To make sure the ministry gets the transformation right, we are seeking your ideas and advice on a number of issues and possible policy directions. We have prepared a list of questions about the most effective ways to develop and provide supports for people who have a developmental disability and their families/ caregivers in the following areas:

  • Promoting inclusion and community engagement
  • Improving respite supports for caregivers
  • Developing housing options that encourage creative and innovative alternatives
  • Providing supports for young adults when they leave school
  • Assisting older adults to access supports for seniors
  • Establishing specialized services to support people with specialized needs
  • Making effective use of the tax system and wills and trusts to help families plan for the future care of their family member and
  • Promoting quality supports.

These topics are discussed in greater detail in Section 1 of Opportunities and Action — Transforming Supports in Ontario for People Who Have a Developmental Disability.

Extensive consultation with individuals, families, service providers and provincial organizations and other activities that have taken place over the past 18 months have also shown us that several strategic changes are needed in a number of other areas to achieve the objectives of fairness, accessibility and sustainability. Part 2 of Opportunities and Action — Transforming Supports in Ontario for People Who Have a Developmental Disability outlines the ministry's plan for changes to the current system of developmental services and supports, including:

  • Funding personal plans that identify individual goals and areas such as living arrangements where supports may be needed and developing a network of independent planners/service brokers for those who want this type of help
  • Clarifying who is eligible for ministry-funded developmental services and supports based on recommendations from experts in the field of developmental disability that will help determine fair and consistent eligibility criteria
  • Introducing a standardized provincial application that determines individuals' strengths and needs so that access to available funding and supports is fair, equitable and people with similar needs receive comparable supports regardless of where they live
  • Streamlining the process to get supports through a single point of access that makes it easier for individuals and their families/caregivers to navigate the system and build a service and support plan that meets their needs and
  • Increasing choices in the way people who have a disability and their families/caregivers receive supports by making direct funding available to those who want a greater say and more active role in how services are provided and by whom.

For more detailed information about the ministry's plan for systems transformation, see Section 2 of Opportunities and Action — Transforming Supports in Ontario for People who have a Developmental Disability.