Changes com­ing to provin­cial govern­ment’s home sup­port pro­gram

Labrador West res­i­dents at­tend sessions to find out more, pro­vide in­put

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - FRONT PAGE - BY MIKE POWER

The provin­cial govern­ment is pre­par­ing to change the way it pro­vides home sup­port and community sup­port to res­i­dents.

The new model is go­ing to be based on in­di­vid­u­al­ized fund­ing, will be de­signed to pro­vide more in­di­vid­ual choice, and will fo­cus on what the per­son wants or needs.

As govern­ment pre­pares to make these changes a se­ries of sessions are tak­ing place across the prov­ince, to ex­plain the idea and to look for in­put from peo­ple who will be af­fected by the changes.

The sessions are a community-based ini­tia­tive put to­gether by the New­found­land and Labrador As­so­ci­a­tion for Community Liv­ing and the Coali­tion of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties.

The sessions and work­shops are be­ing led by Pam An­stey, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the New­found­land and Labrador As­so­ci­a­tion for Community Liv­ing, and Emily Christy, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Coali­tion of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties.

The ses­sion in Labrador West was at­tended by a num­ber of peo­ple with a keen in­ter­est in the changes and how they would come about. Most were fam­ily mem­bers of per­sons with cur­rently avail of community sup­ports.

Af­ter an ex­pla­na­tion of the idea be­hind the pro­posed changes and the goals of in­di­vid­u­al­ized fund­ing, par­tic­i­pants were in­vited to ex­press their thoughts on the cur­rent pro­grams and the pro­posed changes.

Most of those who at­tended said many peo­ple are afraid of change. Some said what is cur­rently in place for them works, but oth­ers say the cur­rent pro­gram comes with quite a few challenges.

One par­tic­i­pant pointed to the fact that her son re­quired dif­fer­ent types of sup­port, in­clud­ing hous­ing, trans­porta­tion, and community in­clu­sion. She ex­plained the present sys­tem re­quires her to go to a num­ber of dif­fer­ent govern­ment of­fices, which at times is frus­trat­ing and very time con­sum­ing. It’s also dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand what pro­grams a per­son is el­i­gi­ble for.

The fa­cil­i­ta­tors ex­plained the idea of the new model is to make it much eas­ier for the client. It’s a kind of one-stop ap­proach - the idea is the client or their rep­re­sen­ta­tive meets and deals with one per­son, who then helps with the de­sign of a pro­gram and ob­tain the needed ser­vices.

Heard through­out the pub­lic ses­sion was the need for a more co-or­di­nated plan for respite. The par­tic­i­pants pointed out there is a need for a home sup­port agency, which doesn’t ex­ist in the area. This of­ten leads to peo­ple go­ing with­out respite or par­ents or oth­ers hav­ing to scram­ble to find respite.

Also heard was the hope that the new pro­gram would not lead to a big­ger work­load, or more stress for those re­spon­si­ble for those who need sup­port.

In all there was a good dis­cus­sion, ques­tions about how will fi­nances be han­dled for the new in­di­vid­u­al­ized fund­ing, what hap­pens when some­body who needs sup­port no longer has a guardian or a par­ent to ad­vo­cate for them, and how do you build a sup­port team?

Many of those present ex­pressed their frus­tra­tions with the cur­rent sys­tem, but also pointed out what worked for them. The new pro­gram and how it will dif­fer from the present was dis­cussed point by point.

A case study was then pre­sented and par­tic­i­pants had the op­por­tu­nity to see how it is dealt with now and how it would be un­der the new in­di­vid­u­al­ized fund­ing. Par­tic­i­pants ex­pressed what their needs would be and how they would ap­proach it un­der in­di­vid­u­al­ized fund­ing.

The bot­tom line is the new model will be de­signed so clients will have a sin­gle point of ac­cess, point out what the clients need, and de­cide how they will get it to them. In­stead of try­ing to fit peo­ple into a num­ber of ex­ist­ing pro­grams, it’s more about build­ing an in­di­vid­ual pro­gram for each client.

The fol­low­ing day par­tic­i­pants and oth­ers in the community were pre­sented with a work­shop that showed the whole process in much more de­tail.

The in­for­ma­tion col­lected at these sessions by the fa­cil­i­ta­tors is brought back to the gov­ern­ments de­sign team for the new pro­gram. The fa­cil­i­ta­tors from Community Liv­ing, and COPD say the in­put they get is de­signed to bring the voice of the peo­ple to govern­ment.

They also pointed out that there is still one more pub­lic ses­sion: Oct. 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. in St. John’s. Any­one who missed the sessions in their home­town and would still like to par­tic­i­pate can do so by tele­con­fer­ence. For more in­for­ma­tion, you can call 709-722-0790 or email

Pam An­stey, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the New­found­land and Labrador As­so­ci­a­tion for Community Liv­ing, ex­plains some of the as­pects of in­di­vid­u­al­ized fund­ing to par­tic­i­pants in Labrador West.

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