A new report released by Ontario’s ombudsman says the province has shown a systemic failure to help families who are unable to care for relatives with developmental disabilities.
In Wednesday’s report, titled Nowhere to Turn, Ombudsman Paul Dube investigates more than 1,400 complaints from families of adults with developmental disabilities who have been abandoned, abused, unnecessarily hospitalized, and jailed.
The report makes note of one 24-year-old man who lived in a long-term care home, injured one senior and was molested by another. One woman who couldn’t remain in an abusive home was moved 20 times in 34 days.
Dube said the “extreme and egregious cases” amount to a “modern-day version of institutionalization.”
The report has come up with 60 recommendations, all of which the province has accepted and committed to implement.
Among them, Dube says the Ministry of Community and Social Services needs to recognize its role in directly assisting with cases, not return adults with developmental disabilities to abusive situations or house them inappropriately in hospitals or long-term care facilities, and improve tracking, monitoring, and research to identify service gaps.
In 2014, the provincial government announced $810-million in new funding over three years for developmental services.
However, according to Dube, “the progress has been incremental” and many families face “interminable waitlist delays” which has led some to abandon their relatives.