December 7, 2017
Providing More Choice for Families in the Ontario Autism Program
Ontario Introducing a New Direct Funding Option and Additional Supports
Ontario is providing families of children and youth with autism with choice, consistency and confidence in the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) by introducing a direct funding option for evidence‑based behavioural services, and making program enhancements that will deliver effective services.
The new direct funding option will provide families in the OAP with the choice of receiving direct funding to purchase evidence‑based behavioural services for their child or youth, or service through one of Ontario's regional providers.
Ontario has been working closely with the community so that the needs of children, youth, and families are put first. Building on the foundation of the OAP that was introduced in June 2017, beginning on January 15, 2018, the province will:
- Increase the maximum hourly rate for evidence-based behavioural services purchased through the OAP from $39 per hour to a maximum of up to $55 per hour, for families who choose the direct funding option.
- Communicate new qualifications for clinical supervisors that will be phased in over time so that families feel confident that they are receiving consistent, high-quality behavioural services. This will be accompanied by the creation of an OAP provider list that will be implemented in 2018 to help families select a qualified OAP service provider.
- Implement an Independent Clinical Review Process to give families in the OAP the opportunity to request a review of key components of their child or youth's OAP behaviour plan by a team that includes two clinicians and a family representative, in the event that they have concerns with any clinical decisions.
- Change accountability and clinical oversight for behavioural services. Clinical supervisors will be accountable for OAP behaviour plans. Direct service providers will no longer provide clinical oversight for evidence-based behavioural services delivered through the direct funding option.
- Introduce a quality assurance review process in spring 2018 in which OAP behaviour plans for both direct funding and direct service options, will be assessed by a team of third-party clinical reviewers.
Ontario is committed to supporting families of children and youth with autism to enter the program as seamlessly and smoothly as possible. Families already receiving services through transitional direct funding payments will experience no gaps in services as the direct funding option becomes available.
Supporting children and youth with autism and their families is part of Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
- Families are encouraged to contact their regional provider to discuss what these changes mean for them.
- Minister Michael Coteau will be hosting Tele Town Halls on January 11 at 7p.m. and January 17 at 7p.m. to answer questions from parents and caregivers. More details will be available on Ontario.ca/autism.
- The OAP launched in June 2017. The program provides flexible, individualized services, and was informed by families, caregivers, advocates, clinicians and providers.
- Ontario is making an unprecedented investment of more than $500 million over five years to expand and improve autism services and supports across Ontario for children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families.
- Children and youth up until the age of 18 with a diagnosis of ASD from a qualified professional are eligible for the OAP.
“I am pleased that this direct funding option will be made available in the Ontario Autism Program, and am confident this program will meet families’ needs. Parents and caregivers have informed this program’s design every step of the way, and I thank them for their advocacy, dedication and perseverance. They have helped shape a strong program that will allow young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder to succeed in the province of Ontario.”
Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services
“Changes being made to Direct Funding under the OAP promise to deliver real choice families want, while ensuring the most efficient use of taxpayers' dollars. The OAC will carefully monitor the implementation of these new policies to ensure that families receive the support they need in a just, effective, and timely manner.”
Bruce McIntosh, President, Ontario Autism Coalition
“Over 3,000 parents responded to our province-wide survey about autism intervention services for their children with ASD. In addition to wanting reduced waiting lists for service, they also told us they wanted greater consistency, choice and flexibility that matched their children’s and family’s changing needs. This announcement is encouraging news as the OAP continues to evolve and implement important and positive changes that support Ontario children and youth with autism and their families.”
Margaret Spoelstra, Executive Director, Autism Ontario
“ONTABA is optimistic about the direction of the Ontario Autism Program. We are encouraged that the Ministry of Children and Youth Services continues to engage key stakeholders to help guide provision of applied behaviour analytic services within the OAP and other sectors in Ontario. The ongoing commitment from MCYS to pursue regulation of behaviour analysts lays a foundation for effective and ethical services for children and youth with autism and their families. ONTABA looks forward to continued collaboration with MCYS to ensure that behaviour analytic services are high quality, safe, and effective.”
Jen Cunningham, President, The Ontario Association for Behaviour Analysis Inc. (ONTABA)
“The Autism Direct Service Providers across Ontario support the four foundational principles of the Ontario Autism Program including Consistency, Confidence, Continuous Improvement and Choice. Choice will provide all families in the OAP the option to purchase evidenced based behavioural services for their child or youth or to receive the services offered through one of the Direct Service Providers in Ontario. The Direct Service Providers are pleased to support children, youth and their families as we move into the new OAP together. Choice will provide all families in the OAP with a Direct Funding option or a Direct Service option. The Direct Funding option will provide families with funding to purchase evidenced based behavioural services for their child or youth. The Direct Service option will provide families the opportunity to receive evidenced based behavioural services for their child or youth offered through one of the Direct Service Providers in Ontario.”
Regional Autism Providers of Ontario.