March 29th, 2011
The uncertainty and instability of today’s economic climate is of immense concern for the future of people with disabilities. A glimpse into this future reveals that the funding necessary to sustain this ageing population as well as the increasing costs of health care will not be available. Furthermore, this system, having been designed in the 60’s and 70’s, does not take into account the contribution of people with disabilities, further perpetuating a mentality where families are victims as opposed to active participants in the shaping of their futures.
CLBC has commissioned PLAN to address these issues by drawing on the tremendous resilience and potential for innovation within families. This strength in families has been evident in the past with turning points such as de-institutionalization, community living, integration and inclusion, personalized planning and supports and individualized funding. The knowledge, expertise and resources families hold create the foundation for change. By uncovering and fostering leadership amongst families, we place them in a position of power, enabling them to take action and decide for themselves how to best build a “good life” for the people with disabilities in their lives.
We also know that there are willing partners waiting on the sidelines, eager to contribute to new solutions. Government, business, community, education, etc… are all sectors that can benefit from an improvement in circumstance of the disability community. The opportunity for dissemination of knowledge to these partners not only adds to the re-invigoration of the “family movement” but works towards building stronger, more inclusive communities.
Social inequality will continue to exist without bold action. We need to empower families to take charge of their lives and shift perception of people with disabilities from one of vulnerability and in need of care to one of active, valued citizens and meaningful self directed lives.