Thursday, 6 June 2013

Erin Rices enlightens Mr.Mauro of the realities in the sector

Good Day Mr. Mauro, 
       I have just finished reading the discussion you had with the Minister of Community and Social Services Mr. McMeekin , regarding developmental services in this province. As the honorable Mr. McMeekin had stated funding has been put into this sector since 2003, however he had neglected to mention the sector had already been grossly underfunded and therefore all of that funding went to making up for lost time. The recent 42 million that is purposed in the budget to go into developmental services with the intention to help 1,104 families is a wonderful thing on paper, but the reality sir is that there are over 23,000 people awaiting care in developmental services, this wait list has been increasing since 2003.  When Mr. McMeekin says there is a lot of work to be done that Mr.Mauro is a understatement. As a front line staff in this sector the issues are larger than 42 million can fix. Let me lay out some of the issues in this sector for you:
1) The D.S.O is overwhelmed with parents begging for support from the government to assist them with their adult disabled children (parents are being told unless their child is in crisis they cannot be helped, some have even gone so far as to abandon their children)
2) Agencies do not have enough funding to provide suitable and compatible housing to individuals needing support 
3) The sector does not have enough qualified staff to support these individuals (people are not enrolling in the DSW program to work in group homes most want to work in the school system)
4) Retaining new staff is a province wide issues as the wage gap is as large as lake Superior 
5) There is a sever lack of training being provided by these agencies to front line staff to assist in supports
6) Violence at work sites is something we are to accept as part of our job
7) Many of the individuals we support cannot live a life of inclusion due to a lack of support hours
8) Passport dollars do not work it’s a band aid it’s not a solution
9) Developmental Services is the only program that has its transfer dollars given out with no real guide lines leaving the spending decisions up to the agencies 
10) Often times when a bed becomes available in these agencies, the provincial government places pressure on the agencies to place people off the wait-list even though they are not compatible which leads to more behaviors and a higher chance of staff being injured

    The provincial table talks that were happening in this sector broke down because of the Management group at the table and why? Because they would have less control of how these NON profit agencies were being run. The boards of these agencies do not deal with the day to day issues, however they are there to hold the management group accountable, I struggle with the idea of the man in charge the Executive Director is often the only person they speak too about what the agency needs. We the front line see what the individuals need, we the front line experience what it is these individuals need, we the front line the back bone of these organizations are often the only voice the people we support have.  As, much as funding is needed in this sector , having the provincial government describe in detail how each and every dollar is to be distributed is an absolute must!

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