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Accessing homeschooling funding for children with disabilities

dsc_0510A reader asked for information regarding the homeschooling funding I accessed for Owen. I wrote her back, but figured it might useful to post about it again here.

Short story is this: homeschooling is legal in Ontario as long as you follow the notification requirements. If your child is (or would be) eligible to receive support in school due to physical or developmental issues, you should be able to receive the same support at home to support your child’s education.  I accessed this funding for years and it made all the difference.

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This is the legislation that allows your child to be homeschooled.  The student is assumed to be receiving satisfactory education at home unless a third-party complains (usually a disgruntled in-law) at which point they will investigate.

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/extra/eng/ppm/131.html

Under this policy, your child may be eligible to access a number of school services, including this one:

Support Services Offered by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Families in which children are receiving home schooling have access to Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care school health support and personal support services (and equipment) through the local community care access centres (CCACs) of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Regulation 386/99 under the Long-Term Care Act sets out the eligibility criteria for these services. The first criterion is that “the person must be enrolled as a pupil at a school or be receiving satisfactory instruction at home in accordance with clause 21(2)(a) of the Education Act.” For a child who is receiving home schooling to be eligible for these services, the parent must provide the local CCAC with a letter from the school board (such as the sample letter in appendix C) indicating that the child is excused from attendance at school because the child is receiving satisfactory instruction at home.

The referenced regulation is spelled out here (you might need to find a better reference?):

http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/english/elaws_regs_990386_e.htm

Look under the headings for “School Health Support Services” – you’ll find this eligibility note:
2. The person must require the services,

i. in order to be able to attend school, participate in school routines and receive instruction, or
ii. in order to be able to receive satisfactory instruction at home in accordance with clause 21 (2) (a) of the Education Act.

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If you are interested in this funding and your CCAC caseworker has no idea what you’re talking about, you are well advised to read up on it yourself! It’s probably still not well-accessed so some caseworkers may not have encountered it before.  I seem to recall I skipped over our caseworker and went up a level – was a whole lot faster with better results.

 

Jennifer

6 Comments

  1. I have been accessing the home school fund for years as well. No one has ever investigated us for any reason, but it’s good to be prepared to answer intelligently about what one is doing from day to day in terms of “education”. The other thing is that under PPM 131, the home school schedule DOES NOT have to follow the school schedule. So, you can book your support person (and that can be anyone you choose to hire) any time of day on any day of the week as long as you don’t exceed 6 consecutive hours in one day or five days in one week. You are allotted 1164 hours per year and you can spread that out however you like…don’t let them pigeon hole you into a typical school calendar. Around here, I make the home school fund last 12 months of the year by booking roughly 4 days per week and dropping some days over the year to stay within the allotted number of hours (nursing covers other hours in the week). CCAC pays the worker directly…I just have to provide a signed time sheet at the end of each month. Our worker is also paid 30.76 per hour, no deductions (the worker must do their own taxes on that), so that gets you some very good people. People have contacted me in the past about home school funding and it’s very true that case managers have been clueless and some CCAC’s very, shall we say “reluctant” to provide details on the matter. Push…politely, but hard.

  2. Ah! You just reminded me Claire: not sure if this is regional or if things have changed… but I managed the money myself. In order to make it last the full year, I changed the hourly rate to the worker. I added up the total dollar value and stretched the money for full-time 12 months instead of full-time 8 months, which added up to approx. double the minimum wage. I made sure this arrangement was completely transparent to the worker. This was equitable primarily because I tended to hire young people without formal training (easy to teach most things on the job) and didn’t need nursing care.

  3. Wow! That’s cool. I have to stick to managing the hours only. Can’t stretch it like that based on the wage. They wouldn’t let me here. Yeah…regional differences. Not good. I like the way you did it. Would’ve solved a lot of problems over here.

  4. Jennifer, I am so grateful for all the help you gave me along the way to access this funding for Aidan. I’d be so burnt out now without that funding, especially as I couldn’t get any “home care” hours through the CCAC at the time. Thank you for taking my calls, walking me through the process and providing moral support! I’ve in turn helped a couple other moms through the process. It may take a while but its well worth it once the funding is in place!

  5. Hi Jennifer can you please guide me as I will like to access to a homeschooling funding . Who should I contact? What should I do?

    • Hi Freddy,

      It’s been a long time since I’ve had to access this so keep in mind my info might be outdated – but here’s the short version of what I remember: you can only access homeschooling funding if your child would have otherwise required nursing or personal support while at school. If this is the case, you’ll need to get a letter from your local public school prinicipal acknowledging your intent to homeschool. Here are the sample forms provided by the Ministry: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/extra/eng/ppm/ppm131.pdf. I notice there is an extra form now – one that requires you to ‘explain’ your home school program – that must be new. Then, you would provide those forms to your local CCAC and tell them you want to access the funding. It’s all explained here: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/extra/eng/ppm/131.html – looks like everything else is as I remember it. Go to the section titled “Support Services Offered by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care” – that’s the clause that says you are entitled to receive home services that would otherwise have been delivered at school, and that you have to access it via the CCAC.

      I hope this helps explain things – assuming you have a child with special needs, you should be able to ask your CCAC caseworker about this funding, and you can point them to these links if they are not familiar with the legislation.

      Good luck!

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