VICTORIA - Since the release of the 12-point plan last January, significant progress has been made towards improving services to people with developmental disabilities and their families.
The B.C. government and Community Living BC (CLBC) have been working together to make changes to ensure individuals with developmental disabilities are receiving appropriate supports and services to encourage greater independence and community inclusion.
Changes have been made to improve transition planning for youth, the overall delivery of services and collaboration across government. While work continues on the development of an integrated service-delivery model, an important part of addressing the recommendations, changes have been made to address specific recommendations.
Improvements within government include:
- The creation of an inter-ministry team, with commitment from nine ministries/authorities, including CLBC, to ensure a "one government" policy framework for individuals with developmental disabilities.
- The launch of the Integrated Services Support Team to give individuals and families a dedicated place to turn to for assistance when they have concerns about the services they are receiving from multiple ministries and agencies, including CLBC.
- Creating more opportunities for employment and training supports with investments in programs such as the Canadian Inclusive Lives Learning Initiative, STEPS Forward, and working with CLBC and local agencies to assist individuals who can and want to work.
- A minimum of $2,800 annually is now provided to all families with transitioning youth to pay for some respite services, or another service chosen by the individual and their family, such as employment programs or education.
- Working to simplify the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) designation process for youth eligible for CLBC supports - in collaboration with the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
- Leading extensive community consultations, as well as targeted discussions with individuals with developmental disabilities and families on what an integrated service-delivery model should look like, and developing the framework for the proposed model based on this feedback.
- The launch of an online discussion forum where people can share their thoughts, ideas and recommendations on services to individuals with developmental disabilities.
- Developing a strategy on ageing to address issues facing ageing adults with developmental disabilities, their families and caregivers - in collaboration with CLBC, the Ministry of Health, the Advocate for Service Quality and the Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia.
Improvements within CLBC include:
- Better collaboration and planning with families to ensure services provided are responsive to the needs of each individual and family.
- Ensuring individuals continue to have a range of residential options to meet people's needs and preferences, including group homes.
- Implementation of an individual and family preference procurement policy throughout the province that empowers individuals and families by providing the opportunity to express a preference for a pre-qualified service provider if they wish.
- Launch of a more responsive complaint resolution process with clear timelines and an enhanced tracking system - signalling a new era of accountability and responsiveness.
- Strengthening the relationship with community councils to ensure more involvement and communications between community councils, the Provincial Advisory Committee and CLBC board and staff, and implementation of recommendations in the task force's report, Strengthening Community Councils.
- Revising the conflict of interest policy, and staff training to help strengthen accountability and service quality.
- Introduction of an updated whistleblower policy to ensure CLBC achieves a high standard of ethical reporting. The policy includes a formal role for CLBC's internal auditor and quality assurance manager.
- Improved tracking of critical incidents and follow-up.
In the coming year, government and CLBC will continue to build on these actions to improve supports for people with developmental disabilities and their families for the long term.
Minister of Social Development Moira Stilwell -
"Our commitment and determination to address the recommendations, to be more responsive and to create an integrated system that puts the person with a developmental disability at the centre of planning will continue in 2013 and the years ahead."
"While there's still work to be done, we're making progress both across government and within CLBC to do a better job of supporting people with developmental disabilities, and people will continue to see improvements."
Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux -
"Continuing communication and co-operation at all levels - community, regional and provincial - is helping to ensure that people with developmental disabilities and their families are supported in the life choices they make. Strong transition planning is a cornerstone for empowering youth with special needs as they move to adulthood."
CLBC interim chief executive officer Doug Woollard -
"Over the past year, we have worked hard at CLBC to put individuals and families at the centre of decision making through focusing on improving the way we reach out to families and work collaboratively to resolve issues. I'm pleased to see the organization making positive moves towards being more accountable, responsive and really making sure individuals and families get appropriate and timely services and supports from us."
For regular updates on progress to improve services to people with developmental disabilities, visit: www.sd.gov.bc.ca/pwd/isst.html
To learn more about Community Living BC: www.communitylivingbc.ca
For more information on CLBC's Community Councils, visit: www.communitylivingbc.ca/about/community-councils
For a chart of actions to date on the 12 recommendations included in the report, Improving Services to People with Developmental Disabilities:
For information on CLBC's quality assurance and responsiveness improvements: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/CLBC_quality_assurance_and_responsiveness_improvements.pdf
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Social Development