Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cabinet betrays young disabled adults who badly need help

I'll deal with the issue in a column, but here's the first response from the B.C. Association of Community Living to cabinet order signed by the premier that's disastrous for disabled people in the province who badly need support.
Two court rulings have rejected a government edict denied support to people with IQs of 70 or above, even if they were assessed as needing help.
So cabinet, instead of its obligations, simply passed an order exempting the government from its own rules.


New Westminster, B.C., July 23, 2008 - The BC Association for Community Living (BCACL) is deeply concerned by recent changes made by the provincial government to the regulations of the Community Living Authority Act, in regards to I.Q. eligibility requirements. This is the Act and regulations that guide the work of Community Living BC (CLBC), the crown corporation that is responsible for supports and services to people with developmental disabilities in BC.

Faced with a second court case filed by the Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS) on behalf of a youth who did not meet CLBC's eligibility criteria based on I.Q., the provincial government has changed the regulation to enshrine an I.Q. of 70 or below as a criterion for receiving services. The change was made without any community consultation or notice.

This effectively means that those youth with significant social or behavioural issues - in particular young adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) or autism who have an I.Q. over 70 and who require individualized support - are left to fend for themselves. Too often this is resulting in youth being forced to leave a safe home and at worst, the criminal justice system becomes the default support system.

Community advocates have been unanimously urging government, across all ministries, to move away from traditional psychological assessment tools that focus on I.Q. and to develop mechanisms that effectively and equitably assess individual needs. Instead of resolving the issue, the government, with the stroke of a pen, has removed any hope of recourse for families who are desperate for services for their young adult children. This is devastating for many families.

"This regressive step by the government is only a further example of the sweeping changes that happen behind closed doors, without any community consultation and at the expense of those most vulnerable," says Laney Bryenton, BCACL Executive Director. "It is completely unacceptable that vulnerable youth will be denied the services they so desperately need to achieve independence."



Anonymous said...

Will you be attending any of the venues at the 2010 Games Paul. If so, when you're there cast a thought on some of those
"difficult choices" that just had to be made in order for BC to glean the "prestige" (read shame) of hosting them.

Anonymous said...

Paul, one of the questions to ask urgently is what does this mean for all the individuals who have an IQ of 70 or over who have been receiving residential and/or other community living services that were grandfathered with the creation of CLBC in 2005 because their families were promised that they would have lifelong supports in the community when they were moved out of institutions in the 1990s.