|LONDON – NDP critic for Children and Youth Services Teresa Armstrong released a statement in response to the government’s update on the Ontario Autism Program Wednesday:
“Children with autism in Ontario are still being denied the services they need to reach their full potential. Families have been to hell and back, fighting for a better Ontario Autism Program, while watching their kids languish without the help they choose for them.
The Ford government has enrolled only 470 children to the new Ontario Autism Program. That leaves over 47,000 children still waiting. To help so few of the children who need services is cruel, and wrong.
Today’s announcement does not get any more children off the wait list and into the services they need, or increase funding to the Ontario Autism Program by a dime.
We support the changes that help services reach families in northern and rural Ontario, as services in those communities were devastated by Ford’s cuts in 2019, which caused reductions in services, closures and mass layoffs.
Clinicians, self-advocates and families all agree that children with autism should get the services they need and want for their health and wellbeing, and that those services should be based on need — not caps or bureaucratic allocations. The Liberals refused to build a program that worked, and now the Ford Conservatives are refusing as well, while families start to lose hope that help will ever come.”