TORONTO - Ontario's ombudsman is launching an investigation into the province's services for adults with developmental disabilities after a growing number of complaints from families.

Ombudsman Andre Marin says desperate families complain their loved ones are at risk of ending up in a homeless shelter or jail because there is nowhere to care for them.

He says in many cases, parents of adult children with severe special needs complained that services for them essentially vanished when the kids turned 18.

Some families complained they were refused support services because of their child's high needs and challenging behaviours, and some aging or ill parents are at risk themselves and have nowhere to turn.

Marin says complaints about the Ministry of Community and Social Services' response in such situations have steadily increased, from 35 in 2010 to 64 so far this year.

The ombudsman's investigation will look into whether or not the ministry is adequately responding to urgent situations and whether it's doing enough to co-ordinate and help families access services.