January 2019 Changes to School Based Rehabilitation Services (SBRS) Update
While the Ford Government is not moving forward with what has been called the Special Needs Strategy, there is clear identification that the problems in Ontario's children's rehabilitation service landscape have not disappeared. In response to feedback received directly from families, the provincial government is making changes to improve the delivery of schoolbased rehabilitation services (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech pathology) for children and youth from birth to school exit. These changes will support a more seamless service experience as children start school or move between service providers, in settings that best meet their needs, regardless of where they live or who delivers the services. A goal is that children who are currently receiving services before school entry will not experience gaps or be placed on additional wait lists when they start school.
A key step is the transfer of contract management for the delivery of School Based Rehabilitation Services (SBRS) in publicly-funded schools from the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) – formerly Community Care Access Centres (CCAC) – to Children’s Treatment Centres (CTC’s) in Ontario. Transfers to CTCs will be complete by January 2019. Service provider contracts will be transferred to the CTC but there will be no changes to contracts or service delivery models in the short term. It should be noted that school-based services for children and youth in private schools or those home-schooled are still funded and coordinated by the Local Health Integration Networks.
The following Children's Treatment Centres will be coordinating and contracting school health support services in the following LHINs.
Central East LHIN
Erie St. Clair LHIN
Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN
Mississauga Halton LHIN
North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN
Toronto Central LHIN
Waterloo Wellington LHIN
Implications for Occupational Therapists
Occupational therapists who provide OT services in Ontario public schools will need to be aware of contracts of their Health Service Provider organizations with the Children's Treatment Centre in your area. Government asserts that there should be no change in services delivered, service volumes, etc. OSOT continues to monitor policy evolution in this sector and has established contacts within the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services that now funds school based rehabilitation services. As policy directions continue to evolve, the Society urges OTs working in schools to consider evidence to support their services and opportunities to increase impact and effectiveness of their service delivery. Resources might include: