NEWS

Family seeks province's help to keep disabled daughter at home

06/27/2013 06:55 EDT | Updated 08/27/2013 05:12 EDT
A Mississauga family is faced with a heart-wrenching decision: to keep their disabled daughter at home with them, which could cause financial ruin. Or send her to an institution.

Their severely disabled daughter can no longer go to school because she turns 21 this summer.

The family has turned to the province for extra funding to help keep their daughter at home. But there's a chance they may have to send her to an institution.

Madhur Paul says his daughter Pooja needs constant care.

"She's non-communicative, she's bedridden, or wheelchair ridden. She's incontinent, very, very sick," he said.

But in spite of the challenges the Paul family cares for Pooja at home.

In part, they've been able to deal with the situation because Pooja has been attending a school for the developmentally challenged with the Peel District School Board.

Parents seeking options

But she turns 21 this summer and becomes too old to be allowed back.

Her parents are now seeking options for the fall.

"We've identified a couple of schools which handle young adults — but they will only look after her if there's a personal support worker — and everything has a cost," her father told CBC News.

It means an extra cost of tens of thousands of dollars to pay for another personal support worker, on top of the one she already has.

Madhur Paul says without financial help the family won't be able to cope.

"Either one of us — my wife or myself — [will] have to leave our jobs to take care of her, which means we can't pay our mortgage and we lose our house, or the house that's suited for her," he said.

No extra funding

Paul says he's tried applying for extra funding from the province.

The family used to receive about $9,000 per year towards Pooja's care, but when she turned 18 those payments were cut by one-third.

In a statement to CBC News the Ministry of Community and Social Services said, "We recognize that caring for an adult family member with a developmental disability is challenging and have great respect for the care families provide for their adult children."

The province says some disabled adults may be eligible for income support, but "we acknowledge that the amount of funding available cannot fully meet the rapidly growing demand for service."

Paul says they've spent hours being interviewed by intake workers only to be told, there is no extra funding.

"We provided as best as we can, but we are at breaking point. We are at breaking point both financially, emotionally, in every aspect," he said.

The only other option is placing Pooja in an institution and that's something her mother and father don't even want to imagine..

"We know her better than anybody else and I think we can give her more care than anybody else can, considering we know her for 21 years," said Paul.

The next two months will be stressful for the family as it waits for the next school year — uncertain whether Pooja will have a place to go.

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