POLITICS

No more waiting: Saskatchewan clears list for intellectually disabled programs

04/22/2013 06:21 EDT | Updated 06/22/2013 05:12 EDT
REGINA - Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says the government has cleared a waiting list of intellectually disabled people looking for homes or programs.

He says the 440 people who were on the list have all been provided with services.

He says another 215 people have also been looked after.

The government promised in 2008 that it was going to do more to help people with intellectual disabilities.

Since then, it has spent $62.5 million in 41 communities on 75 new group homes and service expansions.

Five hundred staff have been added to provide supported independent living and a day program has been funded to support private service homes and provide specialized supports.

That funding has allowed one individual to start his own muffin business, another walks dogs and another has his own recycling business.

Rosemary Fenrich is a board member with the community-based organization Prairie Branches Enterprise. Her 19-year-old son Benjamin has autism. She says there’s nothing more worrisome and challenging than to wonder where her child would live.

“(It's) extremely devastating to be told that there is nowhere for your child to go when they become an adult,” she said Monday after Wall's announcement in Regina. “You don’t feel that there’s any future for your son.”

“It’s given my son a life.”

Fenrich said the ministries of social services, health and education need to work together to ensure another wait list doesn't develop.

Wall said more work will be done in the future so that doesn’t happen again.

“There’s some built-in accountability that comes with these announcements that makes sure we don’t head down that road."

(CJME)