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Who is there to help you make the transition? . . .


In Ontario, the government classifies a person as an “adult” once they turn 18. In Ontario, children’s services are entitlement services. Adult developmental services are not entitlement services. They are voluntary services. That means people can choose not to accept the services offered to them.


People who receive adult services have the right to make their own decisions about things that affect their lives. They are expected, as much as possible, to direct the services they are getting. This is the “person-centred” philosophy of support.
It means that the service providers regard the person as being at the centre of all decisions and believe that the person should (as best as is possible) be in control of his or her own life. Then, The role of service providers is to provide information, options and alternatives to the person to assist him or her in making “informed choices.”


The person-centred philosophy of support does not remove the responsibility of the agency to ensure that the person is making informed choices. Rather, it is a framework within which to provide support in a way that respects the person’s dignity and the choices that have been made.


For the supported person

Because things will be changing in your services and supports when you turn 18, it’s good to know who will be making those decisions and what they have to offer.


There are a number of provincial ministries and local agencies that are interested in your access to developmental services and supports.


Before you turn 18, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) is the provincial ministry that has policies and programs that have been providing for your needs.As well, the Ministry of Education (EDU) [link] is involved in the provision of your education from first enrollment in school until you leave school or are considered to have needs beyond the school board’s ability to deliver services.


The primary community agency that can be involved up to age 18 is Haldimand-Norfolk REACH. REACH has resources and personnel that are very helpful in planning for your transition from child services to adult services. This work on transitioning can start as early as age 14 so don’t delay. REACH can walk you through each step to help you with eligibility requirements that you will face as you turn 18.


The MCSS set up Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) with nine agencies across the province. Its purpose is to help adults (age 16+) with developmental disabilities find services and supports in their community. The DSO office for our region is:


DSO Hamilton-Niagara Region

Suite 4 - 140 King Street East

Hamilton L8N 1B2


Phone: 1-877-376-4674


The DSO HNR (Hamilton-Niagara Region) serves the following communities: Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk, Hamilton, Niagara, Six Nations of the Grand River and Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.


After you turn 18, the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) becomes the government ministry that determines the services and supports that you might receive.


Our regional MCSS office is located in Simcoe at 25 Kent Street North (phone: 519.426.9350 or 1.800.265.8071).


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