VICTORIA - A number of engagement and consultation activities are underway as government continues to deliver on the 12-point plan to improve services to people with developmental disabilities, Social Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux announced today.
Since the release of the comprehensive plan in January, an inter-ministry team - including the ministries of Social Development, Children and Family Development, Education and Health, along with Community Living BC - has been working to develop an integrated delivery system that will improve supports for people with developmental disabilities and their families.
This work includes engagement with individuals with developmental disabilities to better understand the supports and services they want to receive. In May and June, 48 people from 16 communities shared their experiences and input on services that affect their lives. These consultations, led by Fred Ford, a consultant with a long history of involvement in the community living sector, provide valuable information that will help government improve services and supports for people.
To gain feedback from the broader community living sector, the ministry has also appointed a reference group to provide advice on how all 12 recommendations work together. Their input will help government create an overarching service delivery model that meets the needs of individuals and families throughout the province. The group includes 16 people, including representation from individuals whose voices are not usually heard. A few vacancies remain open as the ministry hopes to recruit additional representatives from the North and Interior areas of the province.
In addition, British Columbians have the chance to get involved in BC Ideas, a collaborative online competition that encourages people to share innovative solutions to create positive change in the lives of people with developmental disabilities. The ministry is contributing $30,000 to two BC Ideas challenges, one of which is about how to foster inclusion so people with developmental disabilities can live fully in their community - with a job, friends and a place to live.
Government will participate in a number of other engagement activities over the coming months, including workshops, focus groups and open meetings, with a wide range of people including self-advocates, families, service providers, practitioners and community members.
Minister of Social Development Stephanie Cadieux -
"Engagement is fundamental to understanding what needs to be done to improve supports for individuals with developmental disabilities, and we are committed to bringing people together to share their thoughts, ideas and concerns."
"There are several opportunities for people with developmental disabilities and their families, as well as advocates, community members and caregivers, to get involved and have their voices heard. I encourage anyone involved with this community to come forward and share their experiences so we can work together to find a long-term solution that meets people's needs."
Fred Ford, consultant -
"People are so insightful - they told us what works and what doesn't work in the current system and how the system of supports and services can be improved."
"People spoke about the heartbreak of segregation and exclusion and they talked about how great life can be when one is included and supported in helpful ways. This process reinforced that we all want the same things - to be treated with dignity and respect and to be supported to have meaningful lives. People want their voices heard and they want to help shape their communities and the system - now, and for younger people coming up. This was a great start."
For regular updates about the progress government is making on the 12 recommendations, including information about the reference group, its membership and how to volunteer, visit: www.sd.gov.bc.ca/pwd/isst.html
The final report on the self-advocate consultations, along with an audio version of the report and a video with Fred Ford and Barb Goode discussing their approach, is available at: http://ow.ly/d06es
To learn more about BC Ideas and the online competitions, visit: www.BCideas.ca
Senior Public Affairs Officer
Ministry of Social Development