KidsAbility, an agency that helps young children with special needs in Waterloo Region, is celebrating a funding increase from the provincial government.
The agency will now be getting an additional $310,000 a year, on top of about $7 million annually it already receives from the provincial government. Tracy MacCharles, the Minister of Children and Youth Services, also announced a one‐time grant of $62,500 to KidsAbility. The same amount will also be given to each of the other 19 children's development centres in Ontario.
Linda Kenny, the CEO of KidsAbility, says that funding will help the agency offer assistance to more children.
"Will $300,000 solve all the demands we have on our services? The answer to that would have to be 'no'. Does it make a difference in terms of us being able to chip away at that wait list? Yes, it does," she said.
Kenny says KidsAbility has about 900 children waiting for its services. Most only wait for a few months, but those with high needs can wait for years before being served. The average age of a child on the wait list is around 3 years old.
KidsAbility offers help to children with developmental disabilities, like Down syndrome and autism, and physical disabilities, like muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy.
Kenney says her staff will now be able to help 100 more children with the extra funding.