Staff at the Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham Kent (CTCCK) have more than 842,000 reasons to smile these days.
The provincial government gave the centre $842,525 in additional annual funding.
Donna Litwin-Makey, executive director of the CTCCK, said the added funding is greatly appreciated.
“We’re definitely funded by our ministry (Children, Community and Social Services), but many years have been a flat-line kind of approach,” she said. “It is great to get new operational funding and of this size.”
Litwin-Makey said the team at CTCCK is in the planning stage as to how to best allocate the additional money.
“We’re working on getting rid of as much waiting time as we can,” she said.
The focus will be on school- and pre-school-aged children to improve access to therapies. That would include occupational therapy, speech therapy and physiotherapy.
“We can really make a difference with school-aged kids,” Litwin-Makey said.
Supports will also be improved for families, she added.
“Some funds will go towards spending more time with families as they onboard so they know of the information and supports available,” she said. “We’re also wanting to have as much lifelong community participation as possible. We’re trying to see how to best do that.”
The funding is part of a larger plan by the province. The Ontario government is investing $240 million over four years to increase access to rehabilitation services for children and youth with special needs.
“Our children’s future has always been one of this government’s priorities,” said Rick Nicholls, MPP for Chatham-Kent-Leamington, in a media release. “Ensuring they have access to the services they need, such as the new programs that will be made available from this funding, we can prioritize their success in life. This will directly have a positive impact throughout Chatham-Kent and surrounding communities.”
Of the provincial funding, $60 million in new funding will be provided annually starting this year to build additional service capacity and increase access to preschool speech and language services and community-based and school-based rehabilitation services across the province.