Parents of disabled adults accuse CAQ of breaking campaign promise
Parents of adult children with disability are accusing the Coalition Avenir Quebec government of abandoning a campaign pledge to give them more help ahead of Thursday’s budget release.
One Montreal family said they are struggling with the costs associated with caring for their severely disabled daughter. Katherine Clavet was born with a rare genetic disease that has left her at age 24 with the mental capacity of an 18-month-old.
"She's totally dependent in every aspect of her life," said Clavet's mother, Sophie Bellerose. "She can't ever be left alone. I have to dress her, bathe her. Everything."
Her parents said Clavet receives almost $900 in social assistance from the government, the majority of which goes to expenses like daycare and adapted transit. They said that those costs were covered by the government until she turned 18.
Bellerose met Premier Francois Legault while he was campaigning in September. He promised more money for parents with disabled children and to "re-establish equity between aid given to natural families and foster families caring for minors or adults with disabilities."
Bellerose said that the family considers themselves lucky since their household income is higher than other families in similar situations but are still left with little to cover all of her expenses at the end of every month.
She pointed to additional expenses, such as her daughter’s room needing to a $22,000 renovation to accommodate a bath and bed, that have put additional financial strain on the family. While the government paid for the majority of the renovations, the family still needed to pay $6,000 out of pocket.
"We're not asking for more money because want to be a bit more comfortable," said Bellerose. "It's an emergency."
The family, along with others, have been calling for the government to maintain the financial aid they received before their children turned 18, saying that as their children grow older, the costs for their care can actually increase.
"The best quality of care is at home," said Bellerose. "We can barely afford it and most families cannot afford it at all. We want the government to realize something needs to change."
Quebec Family Minister Mathieu Lacombe said the government does plan on reviewing funding programs for children but wouldn’t give specific on what could be done for adults.
"For adults, I would say it's another challenge. We made a promise, we took an engagement and we wiill do it, but as minister of families, my framework is for kids with disabilities," he said.