"As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected
and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever
~Clarence Darrow

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Where Will You Lay Your Head?

A hot topic lately - will some individuals with special needs continue to reside in institutions or will we have full inclusion in the community?

No matter what your personal thoughts and feelings on the subject may be, there's no deying that it has generated a lot of interest across the country recently. The Manitoba Association for Community Living has launched a human rights complaint against that province's government in connection with the government's failure to integrate more residents of the Manitoba Developmental Centre into the commununity. The complaint itself gives a nice history and background on the issue of institutionalization versus community living.

In Nova Scotia, as part of the The Department of Community Services' review of services, the Community Support for Adults progam and the Children's In Home Support program have recently been revamped as part of the new Services for Persons with Disabilities program. In theory, this new program will provide services for disabled indviduals from birth through adulthood.

Within the next few weeks, I hope to have up more info about this *new* umbrella program and what programs are subsumed in it. So stay tuned!

But for now, you will recall that our provincial government's recent announcement of $19million to RENOVATE an aging institution outside New Glasgow and to build 3 replacement group homes has more than a few groups concerned. In that vein, I am passing along the latest release from the Nova Scotia Associaiton for Community Living (NASCL):

The Canadian Association for Community Living and People First of Canada have created a joint National Deinstitutionalization Task Force. I am honoured to be a member of the Task Force.
Nova Scotia has more people living in institutions than any other province and the Premier has recently announced almost $19m to renovate one of our largest as well as more dollars to create a new one in the old Cobequid Centre in Sackville.
The Joint Task Force has a newly created web site and has written a declaration. The wb site will be expanded shortly. However, we are urging everyone to visit the site, read the Declaration and add your name.
I hope that many Nova Scotians will show the country that despite the actions of our government, we really do believe that citizens with an intellectual disability ought to be supported to live lives of dignity in their own communities.
Please pass the message along to other friends, family and colleagues.

Mary Rothman
Executive Director

The above link will take you to an online declaration/petition which you may or may not wish to sign. Either way, its definitely worth checking out.

**** Background Reading Material: Other relevant reads to come up to speed on this topic before we boldly go where few Nova Scotians have gone before (namely the Services for Persons with Disabilities Program) include Dr. Michael Kendrick's infamous, if now somewhat dated, "An Independant Review of the Nova Scotia Community Based Options" (more commonly known as " the Kendrick Report ") and the former Community Support for Adults Policy Manual ... perhaps now more aptly subtitled "Gone but not forgotten".

H/T to Dorothy Kitchen of the Kendrick Coalition

Update: I have quite a few hard copies of the Executive Summary from the Kendrick Report. If anyone would like their own copy, drop me a note in the comment box or use the email link in the profile.


Kris, in New England said...

Michelle - I won't ever have anything material to add here - I don't have to face the hardships that you do. I admire your courage in life, and your determination to be an advocate for your children - and others in your position. I wish you best of luck with your blog. I'm sure you will make a difference!

Jennifer said...

You have done a fine job putting this site together. I know that it will be a benefit to the parents of Nova Scotia. I am thankful that they have you to help them wade through all of the red tape. Not an easy task! Keep up the good work!
Jennifer, California, USA

NeoAuteur said...

This is indeed a difficult issue. It'll be interesting to see how the issue pans out.