This is an amazing day for Ontario families. The government is making an historic investment in the child development and rehabilitation sector of $240 million over four years to address wait lists for pediatric rehabilitation and child development, making sure kids get services in a timely way.
“Empowered Kids Ontario-Enfants Avenir Ontario (EKO) and our members greatly appreciate the financial support announced today in the 2021-22 provincial budget by Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy,” says EKO CEO Jennifer Churchill. “This is a profound investment that ensures the high-quality care kids and their families deserve will reach more kids and significantly reduce wait times.”
Ontario’s child development and rehabilitation agencies across the province provide services and programs, including core rehabilitation therapies—physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech language therapy—to more than 150,000 kids every year, at home, in schools and in the community.
This will allow our members to see more of the kids who are waiting for all levels of service—whether they need only a few visits or many visits to help them achieve their goals.
“On behalf of our sector, we thank the Government of Ontario for this meaningful support, and for ongoing efforts to address the urgent treatment needs of kids with disabilities and their families,” says EKO Chair Penny Smiley.
The funding addresses an increasingly urgent gap between the time a child may miss developmental milestones and when they enter service. Today 80,000 kids are waiting for treatment. This funding will enable providers to increase staffing, develop new models of service aligned with families’ expectations, and increase programs that support families and family engagement.
“We want to acknowledge the investment in capital and how important these providers are to their communities,” adds Churchill. “We’re thrilled to see that the government is making sure community-based providers are able to welcome kids and families and provide care in facilities that enable leading clinical practice.”