Day Treatment Education Programs

As a follow-up to last week’s blog post in which I discussed children’s aid societies, I wish to draw your attention to the issue of day treatment education programs.

Last year, I lamented the fact that Francophone students in Toronto whose specific educational needs were being met through specialized programs provided at day treatment centres were forced to abandon their French-language education when they reached the age of 13.

Those programs, which are designed to provide instruction to school-age children and youths who cannot be integrated into a regular classroom, are essential to the development of tomorrow’s adults and their full participation in society.

In my view, being Francophone should not be an obstacle for young people who are already struggling with social, behavioural, emotional or psychiatric disorders. For that reason, I recommended that the Ministry of Children and Youth Services take all available steps to ensure availability of day treatment education programs for Francophones aged 13 to 18 in Toronto by the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year.

I had high hopes that this recommendation would come to fruition, since, apart from funding, everything was in place for a favourable outcome: young people waiting, collective will, accommodations and a clear start-up protocol from the Ministry of Education.

However, my and many parents’ desire for an educational support continuum for Francophone children and youths with special needs in Toronto has not yet been materialized.

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services certainly affirmed its commitment to ensuring that young Francophones of Toronto have access to the necessary programs and assured the Commissioner’s Office that it was working with service providers toward that goal. I am aware that somewhat complex factors which ask for continuous collaboration between partner organizations may sometimes have to be taken into consideration. That is why is this particular situation, the Commissioner’s Office commits to working with the partner organizations to find an effective solution as promptly as possible.

I will come back to you next week with one last example relating to the children and youth services sector.

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