Support grows, action widens to save T-Town
Opposition to the planned closure of a renowned mental health facility continues
to grow. Increasing numbers of parents, community members, and workers are
joining public events to hike public awareness and pressure on the Ontario
government to reverse the decision.
The closure would
leave more than 400 families without treatment for children with mental health
problems and developmental disabilities, such as extreme autism. Thistletown
Regional Centre is a place of last resort for hard-to-treat cases turned away by
hospitals and community agencies.
Last week alone,
they walked together in the Autism Speaks Walk, appeared at a Thistletown family
barbeque, and rallied outside a fundraiser for Eric Hoskins, Ontario’s Minister
of Children and Youth Services.
Members of the
public were shocked to learn from conversations and leaflets that Thistletown is
slated to close over a two-year period starting this Fall with no plan for
existing clients and without full disclosure to those affected. Many signed the
petition to keep Thistletown open and asked what they could do to help.
Members of OPSEU’s Greater Toronto Area Council took leaflets and petitions to
the public outside the $500-per-person Hoskins fundraiser at a posh hotel on
Toronto’s Bloor St. Joining them was Nancy Pridham, a nurse at the Centre for
Addiction and Mental Health, and an OPSEU Executive Board Member from Region 5.
the autism walk, a coalition member approached Kathleen Wynne, Minister of
Housing and Aboriginal Affairs and asked her to tell Minister Hoskins that the
families are waiting for a meeting with him.
400 day-treatment and 15 residential clients and their families has been
piecemeal. The coalition wants Hoskins to meet with Thistletown parents as a
group, make public a detailed plan for transition, and commit to long-term
funding to replicate Thistletown’s services.