The Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD) program, formerly known as the Handicapped Children's Benefit (HCB), provides help to parents to assist with some of the extra costs of caring for a child who has a disability.  The purpose of the benefit is to help children who have disabilities live as normal a life as possible at home and in the community. In order to qualify for this program, financial and medical criteria must be met.

What funding and/or service(s) are provided under the ACSD program?

Financial assistance ranges from $25 to $460 per month depending on the family's gross annual income and the number of other children in the family;
A child is eligible for a dental card; and
The program may help parents with extraordinary costs related to a child's condition.  Examples include travel to doctors and hospitals, special shoes and clothing, parental relief, wheelchair repairs, hearing aid batteries, and financial assistance for basic dental care, drugs, eyeglasses, and hearing aids.

Who is eligible for this program?

The child must be under 18 years of age and live at home with a parent or a legal guardian.  The income of a family will be evaluated to determine qualification.
The child must have a severe disability that results in a functional loss.
Extraordinary costs must be present which are incurred directly as a result of the disability.

How does this relate to respite care?

Some families choose to use the funding that they receive through this benefit to pay for a worker to provide in home services or respite care.  Families may do this themselves, directly administering the funds and hiring a worker.  They may also request that Family Respite Services administer the funds for them.  Family Respite Services will do this for children who have intellectual disabilities.  In these situations, the staff from FRS work with the family to recruit a worker and will employ the worker and pay them.  The family pays for these services out of their benefits.

Ministry Ontario Children and Youth Services ACSD Website