Youth with developmental disabilities between the ages of 16 and 24 years can get help during the transition to adulthood through a new service model launched in the Kamloops and Merritt areas last fall.
At the heart of the new model is a new type of support - a navigator service that is wrapped around an individual and their family. The navigator is able to offer support, help an individual identify goals and ways of meeting them - like where to live or get a job - assist in developing a plan and co-ordinating the services and supports to make that plan concrete. Acting as a one-on-one support for families, the navigator can assume a proactive role in ensuring that all the elements of a person-centred plan are captured in one place.
The navigator is focused on the needs of the family and individual and is not answerable to any one funding or service organization. This support is designed to take families through the years of late adolescence to early adulthood - a developmental period that can only benefit from the consistency and continuity that a single point of contact provides.
The Kamloops/Merritt site is one of four early implementation sites prototyping the new model for youth, and also serves the communities of Barriere and Clearwater. As of Oct. 16, 2014, 44 people have been referred to the new services in these communities.
The new model is available for youth in a number of communities including Surrey, Nanaimo/Courtenay area, Kamloops/Merritt area, and Prince George/Haida Gwaii. Another site in Burnaby started taking referrals in May 2014, and focuses on the 55-and-over age group and specific services and supports for older adults. Expanded roll out for other areas of B.C. will be considered in spring 2015.
The Services to Adults with Developmental Disabilities Initiative partner organizations include the ministries of Children and Family Development; Health, and Education; Community Living BC; delegated Aboriginal agencies; school districts; and health authorities.
Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Don McRae -
"The new service model helps individuals with developmental disabilities and their families during times of life transition - such as youth to adulthood or moving into their senior years - and links families with a navigator who co-ordinates the government services they need, rather than people trying to find their way through complex systems and services alone."
Community Living CEO Seonag Macrae -
"CLBC regional staff are working closely with navigators to support the development of a more integrated system for government supports for the people CLBC serves. CLBC appreciates the progress being made through this work that will help individuals and families gain access more easily to a broad range of services."
Integrated Services and Supports director Dan Douglas -
"The Kamloops-Merritt early implementation site partnership group has worked diligently on reinforcing the one-government approach while reducing the pressure on families. Local school districts and Interior Health partners have acknowledged the efforts of navigators that have led to easier access to documentation and more success connecting youth to potential services after they turn 19 years of age."
Comments provided by program participants working with a navigator -
" It's a lot easier on us, one point of contact for every other agency or whatever we're dealing with, they can contact her instead of me getting 10 calls, she fields them, it's great I don't have to do that."
" Being through this so much and having to fight for everything for so long, it's great to have someone to explain in layman terms the process to get through it, to explain it more at a level that people can understand, the navigators talk so we can understand it..."
" it's taken a weight off my shoulders because I don't have to be repeating myself to every worker you come across, so now this is somewhere everyone can come together to see what's going on."
"I like how she helped me get through the resources, I liked how I was able to open up with the community with her assistance. I think that she really helps me a lot with choices I make."
"They get to know the child, they help the child figure out whatever it is that's important to them and plan to achieve goals to get them where they want to be. She brought a lot of different programs and help that I didn't know about."
- There are two navigators serving the Kamloops/Merritt area, who spend much of their time out in the community meeting with individuals and families.
- The new model also includes a secure, web-based electronic system to share information and keep track of planning, activities and achievements in one place.
- Participation is voluntary and consent must be provided to enable a navigator and the individual’s support team to collect and share information. If an individual is under 19, a parent or legal guardian must provide consent.
- Youth or their families can find out more by talking to their local Community Living BC contact, school staff, Ministry of Children and Family Development social worker, or call 1 855 356-5609.
- Developing a more integrated approach to providing cross-government services and supports came out of the 12-point plan unveiled in January 2012 to improve services for people with developmental disabilities.
- The new model was designed based on extensive consultations with individuals with developmental disabilities, their families, service providers and advocates.
More information on the Services to Adults with Developmental Disabilities Program: www.sd.gov.bc.ca/pwd/isst.html
Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation