Funding to help reduce wait times of up to three years
“Facilities like this need as much predictability as possible in terms of funding,” said Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children's and Youth Services, during the announcement Wednesday in Sudbury.
For the Sudbury Children's Treatment, located at the Ramsey Lake Health Centre, the extra funding will translate to $154,000 per year.
The province has also invested an additional $1.25 million in one-time funding for children's treatment centres across the province.
In Sudbury, that means an extra $62,500 for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
“Any kind of funding is wonderful,” said Julie Contini, whose five-year-old son, Peter, has used the centre's services since he was born.
“It will increase services and enhance whatever equipment they need for the children.”
Peter was born with Down syndrome, and his mother said the physiotherapy and speech pathology he has received at at the centre has helped his development tremendously.
“The staff here are wonderful,” said Contini. “They love their jobs and they love the children.”
Joanne Tramontini, clinical manager at the Children's Treatment Centre, said the new influx of yearly funding will help reduce wait times for services by hiring more staff and adding hours for current employees.
“We still have children who are waiting sometimes 12 months, 18 months, two years,” she said.
For one program, she added, wait times are as long as three years.
The centre helps between 1,600 and 2,000 children each year through a wide variety of programs.
Those include physiotherapy, an infant child development program and even classrooms.
Children who attend the classrooms spend half their days at the centre, and the other half at their community school.
“While they're here, they receive intensive physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy,” Tramontini said.
While the additional funding represents only a small portion of the centre's yearly budget, Tramontini said it should help ease the frustration many parents feel when they want to get their children the help they need.
“We try to provide as much programing as possible,” she said. “We do need that extra support sometimes.”