Families with disabled children call current financial aid system unfair
With a recent study showing foster families get 70 per cent more money to care for disabled children than biological families, a group of parents with severely disabled children are calling on the government to make things fairer.
Sylvie Hamelin, whose daughter Juliette has cerebral palsy, managing care with a career has proven to be a struggle.
“Day to day with Juliette, I have to give all the care. We have to it ourselves,” she said. “At the end of the year, it’s costing me $25,000 in care for Juliette. I get from the government basically an average of $10,000.”
One of the groups that commissioned the study is L’Etoile de Pacho, a non-profit that supports families with disabled children. Founder Nathalie Richard, whose 11-year-old son David is disabled, said the current system punishes biological families.
“It doesn’t make sense that I’m lacking the financial resources but they’ll give it to someone else to take care of my own son,” she said. “I should get the money to keep him with me.”
L’Etoile de Pacho, alongside Parents Jusqu’au Bout, have launched an online petition on behalf of the nearly 40,000 families in Quebec raising disabled children.
A spokesperson for the Quebec families ministry said the government is taking the groups’ concerns into account and the province has set up a committee to examine how much support families are getting. A report is expected to be issued in the fall.
Hamelin said she hopes the issue will come to the forefront during the upcoming provincial election campaign.
“It’s not easy when you’re a mother to see your child having so many needs and you don’t know that’s going to be taken care of,” she said.