Component: Adults' DS Community Support Services

Legislation: Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008 (SIPDDA). Ministry of Community and Social Services Act (MCSSA) – applies to transition supports (Student Links)

Service objectives

Transfer payment agencies provide community participation services and supports for adults who have a developmental disability that include

  • Activities such as personal development, basic life skills training, social and recreational activities, volunteering and other activities that lead to community participation
  • Assistance for individuals who have left school, by providing innovative community participation supports
  • Supports to promote life-skills and community participation for individuals no longer in school
  • To support the development of a personal Individual Support Plan (ISP) based on the principles of self-determination, social inclusion, citizenship, and choice and to provide services that are reflective of this plan

Transition supports (Student Links)

Student Links (formally Passport Mentoring Services) transfer payment agencies provide transition supports (Student Links) for students between the ages of 14 and 21, who have a developmental disability and are at the secondary school level.

Includes exposure to innovative community participation supports and opportunities.

Service description

People served

Community participation services and supports are provided to persons who reside in Ontario, are at least 18 years of age and have a developmental disability as defined by the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008. Under the MCSS Act, transition supports (Student Links) are for students between the ages of 14 and 21, who have a developmental disability and are at the secondary school level.

Note: An Individual Support Plan (ISP) is not the same as Person-Directed Planning (PDP): Individual Support Plans should not be reported or counted/considered equivalent to a person-directed planning (or person-directed planning process). The two terms are used to describe different planning processes and should NOT be confused.

Individual support plan (ISP)

For DS Community Participation Services and Supports: Each individual will have an ISP that is based on the assessed needs and preferences of the individual. The plan will identify the specific services/supports received by the individual, the expected outcomes and should be based on the principles of self-determination, social inclusion, citizenship, choice and other requirements outlined in Section 5 of O. Reg. 299/10.

For transition supports (student links): The process for ISP is through consultations with students, families and schools. Students will self-identify areas of interest and opportunities that they want to explore and experience and/or link to. An individualized Mentor Plan will be developed and agreed upon by the student.

Developmental service community participation services and supports include

  • Facilitate and support participation in community-based activities (e.g. social networking, recreational, peer counseling, faith-based and/or volunteer)
  • Develop skills in utilizing community infrastructure such as transportation services, shopping, libraries, and recreational opportunities
  • Promote activities of community inclusion for individuals transitioning from the education system
  • Structured learning, and education to meet an individual's goals in the areas of functional independence and community participation and development of Person-Directed Planning (PDP) services and supports to assist persons with

developmental disabilities in identifying their life vision and goals, and finding and using services and supports to meet their identified goals with the help of their families or significant others of their choice

Note: To be reported as person-directed planning the process must align with the planning process outlined in the MCCSS November 2013 Person-Directed Planning and Facilitation Guide and must be a process which includes five accepted common steps (p.13) and fourteen core elements (p.43 of the Guide). Individual Support Plans should NOT be reported or counted as person-directed planning. (https://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/documents/en/mcss/publications/developmental/Person_DirectedPlanning.pdf)

Transition supports (student links) include

  • Coordination of Student Links
  • This includes recruitment and linking of adult mentors who actively participate in their community to mentor students who have a developmental disability at a secondary school level
  • Mentors provide students with direct exposure to career shadowing, interaction in meaningful community activities, volunteer options and the exploration of alternate post-school opportunities
  • Opportunities to learn in both group and individual settings
  • Opportunities to participate in the development of social relationships
  • Opportunities for family participation
  • Community-based learning
  • Exposure to an array of activities and experiences
  • Work training and volunteer involvement
  • Self-directed planning with links to IEP and student transitional plans
  • Development of community linkages and partnerships
  • Focus on independence, participation, and inclusion
  • Involvement of experienced adults who have a developmental disability in the design, development, and mentoring role for this initiative

Transition supports (student links) description

Is an "in-school" opportunity to expose students, who have a developmental disability, at the secondary school level, to post-school experiences and options. It is intended to enhance their capacity to make informed post-school decisions prior to leaving school and is available to students between the ages of 14 and 21. This is achieved through adult mentors, and Mentor Coordinators, in concert with school personnel, parents, and community and support providers (where applicable).

Student Links is an opportunity for students to explore and experience a link with various options and opportunities that they may want to pursue upon leaving high school. Student Links will provide expertise to students, mentors, educators' community members and families.

Students will be better equipped to participate in planning for their future and will have had an opportunity to connect with people who have knowledge or experience in the students' identified area of interest. Mentor Coordinators will facilitate the engagement of students to mentors who can offer expertise and support to the development of capacity within students around a specific interest. The intention will be to expose them to roles that they may want to consider for their future once they have graduated. These roles would create opportunities for them to pursue in the future and that would enhance their participation in community life.

Experienced adult mentors work with the Mentor Coordinators to provide direct exposure to career shadowing, interaction in meaningful community activities, volunteer options and the exploration of alternate post-school opportunities.

Additional in-school support includes exposure to and training in social interaction, relationship building, post-school transition adjustments, decision-making approaches and exploration. Mentoring approaches are individualized for each student with a Mentor plan.

The process for ISP is through consultations with students, families and schools. Students will self-identify areas of interest and opportunities that they want to explore and experience and/or link to. An individualized Mentor Plan will be developed and agreed upon by the student before proceeding.

Community linkages and service collaboration (if applicable) will be achieved through the identified actions contained within the students' Mentor Plans. Student Links is delivered by Community Living Ontario in partnership with People First of Ontario and/or other self-advocacy organizations in the community. Evaluations and feedback from all stakeholders involved (i.e. students, families, schools, community linkage) will also take place to determine the effectiveness of the mentor plan.

Role of the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services

  • Provide annualized funding to Community Living Ontario (CLO) to design and implement Student Links
  • Negotiate and monitor the agreement with Student Links agencies to assure compliance with Student Links guidelines, MCCSS policies/procedures and quality assurance and evaluation procedures

Role of student links agencies

Student Links agencies will work in partnership with self-advocacy organizations in the community to

  • Administer and deliver Student Links
  • Introduce and provide the initiative to willing school boards and schools
  • Determine access to mentoring in consultation with mentoring teams, which includes students, families, educators, mentor coordinators, self-advocacy groups, and other relevant stakeholders
  • Gather all necessary information to determine outcome measures and quality assurance
  • Match students with mentors and provide the required support and training to ensure a successful match. Ongoing monitoring of the matches and progress checkpoints (and re-matching if required) would be strongly encouraged
  • Meet the implementation requirements within the capacity and resources that are available
  • Oversee spending of all allocated funds by the end of the fiscal year, and ensure that they are managed within spending guidelines
  • Develop and conduct an evaluation of the initiative
  • Adhere to all government program standards, including compliance with any quality assurance procedures and random spot audit checks

Services excluded

  • Employment supports that are provided to place, maintain, or change the employment of an individual in a work setting
  • Intake and assessments for the purposes of eligibility determination and funding allocation
  • Community participation supports provided by staff in a supportive living setting

Delivery method

  • Services may be provided in person or by other means (e.g. phone, email, mail and videoconference) remotely/virtually
  • Staff providing services are typically required to have certification in the human services field including developmental services or related training or experience
  • Services provided are aligned with the ministry's safety and security guidelines and expectations
  • Activities are not fundable through ODSP employment supports
  • Community participation services and supports provided for adults with developmental disabilities may be provided by agencies or purchased by individuals
  • Where services are purchased by individuals, agencies may provide financial and other administrative supports
  • Transition services for school-aged youth cannot be purchased directly by individuals

Services will be

  • Designed to address the needs of the individual and their family
  • Respectful of the social, linguistic and cultural diversity of individuals, families and communities
  • Staffed by individuals with the appropriate training and range of skills necessary to respond effectively to the needs of individuals and their families
  • Based on the individual's assessed strengths, needs, preferences and available individual, agency, community and contracted ministry resources
  • Obtained through the application for adult developmental services and supports process, which identifies individuals' support needs and priority access to service through a process that is objective, equitable and transparent

Program goals

To provide community participation services and supports to adults with a developmental disability that promote social inclusion, individual choice, independence and rights.

Ministry expectations

  • Service agencies will inform the appropriate Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) office of resources and/or vacancy declaration as it becomes available; and maintain up to date agency information including, agency amalgamations/closures/name changes; service location changes or additions and services delivered at specific locations
  • Service agencies will comply with all relevant legislation, regulations, policy directives, program guidelines, funding agreement(s), accountability and reporting requirements. Service agencies must continue to report to the DSOs and the Ministry regarding the status and/or any changes in circumstances or service terminations relevant to all placements of adults with developmental disabilities served by the service agencies matched and linked by the regional DSO
  • The service agency is responsible for utilizing the information technology specified by the Ministry for the collection and maintenance of information, maintaining the security, integrity, consistency and validity of the information collected and maintained and ensuring that data is accurate and kept up to date

Reporting requirements

The following service data will be reported on an Interim and Final stage. Please refer to your final agreement for report back due dates and targets.

Service data nameDefinition

Passport Mentoring: Ministry- funded Agency Expenditures

Total ministry-funded expenses for the Transfer Payment Recipient to administer and/or deliver this service in the reporting year (cumulative).

# of Mentors: Passport Mentoring

Mentors: The number of unique/unduplicated Mentors participating in Student Links during the reporting period where the coordinator has confirmed a new match or an active mentoring relationship (i.e., the relationship existed during the reporting period).

# of Unmet Requests for Mentors: Passport Mentoring

Unmet Requests for Mentors: The number of unique/unduplicated students waiting for a Mentor in Student Links during the reporting period.

# of Mentees: Passport Mentoring

Mentees: The number of unique/unduplicated students participating in Student Links during the reporting period where the coordinator has confirmed a new match or an active mentoring relationship (i.e., the relationship existed during the reporting period).

Community Participation: Ministry- funded Agency Expenditures

Total ministry-funded expenses for the Transfer Payment Recipient to administer and/or deliver this service in the reporting year (cumulative).

# of Individuals Served: Community Participation

The unique/unduplicated number of individuals that received this type of service in any language in the reporting year (cumulative). The same person should be counted only once if they received more than one type of this service, or if they exited and re-entered service during the year.