WINDSOR – Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky was joined by local disabilities advocates and mothers Michelle Helou and Mary Beth Rocheleau on Friday, to announce an NDP bill that would eliminate wait times for developmental disability services and ensure no one goes without the developmental supports they need.
“Noah and Gregory’s Law addresses a persistent and stressful issue for those with developmental disabilities and their families,” said Gretzky. “When youth with developmental disabilities turn 18, they transition from youth supports to adult supports. However many people fall through the cracks – they’re cut off youth supports on their 18th birthday and the adult support doesn’t kick in right away. My bill would ensure no one is forced to languish on a waitlist for the support they need and deserve.”
Gretzky was inspired to introduce Noah and Gregory’s Law, after local autism and developmental disabilities advocates made her aware of the youth-to-adult supports waitlist issue. Both Helou’s and Rocheleau’s sons were cut off of support and waitlisted after their 18th birthdays, causing significant physical, emotional, and financial stress for them and their families.
Gretzky’s bill will guarantee that anyone with developmental disabilities receiving youth support will continue receiving these services until their adult supports take effect. This would ensure that families and their loved ones do not have to struggle without adequate access to respite, personal support workers, day programs, and other services.
“I believe if this bill passes, it would be monumental for individuals with disabilities and their families,” said Helou. “It would alleviate stress and burden off their plate knowing there would be a smooth transition of services and supports when their special needs child turns 18.”
“As a single mother, I provide constant care for Gregory, and this I do while holding down a full-time job,” said Rocheleau. “On my son’s 18th birthday, Gregory, his sister and I took a $7,000 financial cut, just because my son turned 18 – that’s money we use to help pay for caregivers to enable me to work.”
Mary Beth Rocheleau has started a letter writing campaign, encouraging all MPPs to support Noah and Gregory’s Law at Second Reading in February.