Dear MCCSS Members of Government,
I would like to address the above subject of Independent Facilitation and the funding that had been granted under the previous government to the seven organizations under the umbrella of the (OIFN) Ontario Independent Facilitation Network.
I have a daughter who has autism and our family has been using the services of one of these seven OIFN organizations: Families for a Secure Future (FSF) in the Durham Region area. Independent Facilitation has been a God-send to us! This organization’s ‘personal approach’ and willingness to work to understand our family situation as a whole, and to set goals for my daughter to achieve what she likes to do has truly helped to create a sense of acceptance in society for her. She’s now making a contribution to community by way of being gainfully employed. She has two part-time jobs and one volunteer position. This would not have been possible without the support we have received.
Independent Facilitation has provided our family with encouragement and shown diligence in working toward a specific goal with perseverance and constant dedication. Independent Facilitation has been a win-win situation for everyone and should be available to anyone wanting it. Families should be enabled to request assistance from any of the OIFN organizations and not have to sit on a DSO wait-list. Many families whose children are still in school will need this assistance in the years to come. Families are going to need this form of support for issues that are cognitively/mentally/behaviourally challenging. This is a great service and a viable or ‘real results’ means for the Government to support families that is absolutely crucial to us!
Not everyone is able of pay for this service via a ‘fee-for-service’ model, in fact, most people can’t. I believe that ‘fee-for-service’ does not work as evidenced by the many reports/statistics that have been provided to the Ministry by the OIFN for due consideration. My family was one of the lucky ones that was able to access Independent Facilitation from the DSO (for a demonstration project) and the results have been amazing to say the least! Many families working with FSF and the other Ontario organizations providing Independent Facilitation have been blessed in knowing that our ‘disabled’ or ‘developmentally challenged’ young adults are now finding opportunities to flourish and be gainfully employed. They are not only enjoying their work, but paying taxes just like other citizens in our society!
Why would your Government cut off funding ($3 million or so) when the fact is, our young adult sons and daughters are actually working, paying taxes, and contributing back to society as a result of the assistance provided by Independent Facilitation. Independent Facilitation has helped people who are often cast aside and treated differently to feel and experience acceptance within society. Why take away something that is working?
It will always remain to be the responsibility and burden for parents to bare, knowing that in these times of medical and technological advances, that our children will most likely outlive us! The fear of knowing what our daughter’s life will be like when we are not longer alive is a constant stress. Independent Facilitation should be ‘government funded’ so that the individuals and families served can continue to be supported and guided in preparation for ONGOING life changes and for what matters most, not only to us and our daughter, but also for those who will need these services in the future. Although Passport 1, and ODSP help with our daughter’s finances for the needs of everyday living we need Independent Facilitation so that she can have a real life in community! It’s rare that you can find an organization like those under the OIFN, that actually makes a difference in the lives of those they serve! You cannot put a value on it!
To us, as parents of a daughter with a developmental disability and to other parents in our same situation this service is so needed and appreciated. I understand that approximately 1,400 families across Ontario are using the services of Independent Facilitation and that the funds consumed are a minuscule amount of the overall MCCSS budget! My earnest request from my family and on behalf of others families who have been rewarded in so many different ways from using this government funded assistance is that you will re-think the intention to cancel Independent Facilitation and re-evaluate and renew it.
Thank you for reading,
Parent from Durham Region