Living in the Community:

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Services and Supports for People with Disabilities Often Hidden From View

Report by Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) and Not for Profit Business Association (NfPBA) launched by Minister Kathleen Lynch Today (Mansion House 10.30am Wed 17th  Apr 13)

The resources and supports that enable people with disabilities to actively live in the community in Ireland are often hidden from view, according to a report jointly published today by the DFI and NfPBA. Minister of State Kathleen Lynch launched the report: Living in the Community: Services and Supports for People with Disabilities today in the Mansion House.

This report shines a spotlight on these supports, by establishing the types of supports that exist; how are they delivered and funded, how are they managed and how they can be supported so as to continuously improve? This is the first time that such an analysis has been conducted across the disability sector. (Full report on www.disability-federation.ie and www.notforprofit.ie from 11am).

John Dolan CEO of DFI said today,

“There are close to 600,000 people with some form of disability living in Ireland according to Census 2011. The Programme for Government states “We will ensure that the quality of life of people with disabilities is enhanced and that resources allocated reach the people who need them.” “If we want this to be a reality we need to learn from the experience we have in Ireland of providing supports to people with disabilities in the community. And I stress 'in the community' in particular"

 “The fact is that the Value for Money and Policy Review of Disability Services Report deliberately chose to ignore the range of community supports and services even though these are the ones closest to the policy of mainstreaming, inclusion and choice. Since the Review was published by Government there have been unprecedented decisions to cut and abolish some of these services, such as, Personal Assistance, Home Supports, the Respite Care Grant, and the Mobility Allowance.”

added John Dolan  

Some agencies had

“developed from a community base with the aim of promoting and protecting client choice, control and independence. These agencies already operate a client-focused model of service and they provide examples of good practice, which can be used to inform decision-making in the wider disability sector.”

(DoH, 2012: 75). 

DFI and NfPBA have long recognised the need to provide a more in-depth description of the experience of community based supports and the decision of the Value for Money Report not to address these services consolidated this motivation”

said Des Kenny Chair of Not for Profit Business Association.

“Disability is a societal issue impacting in some way on virtually every family in this country. To view disability as sectoral issue is restrictive and flawed”.  “The findings of this report are relevant to all government departments, it is as relevant to how we reform our health services as to how we reform our local government and how we support people into training and employment”

added John Dolan.

“The report again highlights the vital requirement of providing a bridge between the person with a disability and the services they require. This of course is a distinctive feature of the work of community-based organisations, as much of this bridging happens and is required at local level. This vitally important service needs to be valued and incorporated in the development of new models, relating to assessment of need, resource allocation, monitoring of resource use and in agreeing outcomes for people with disabilities”

said Des Kenny

Des Kenny added that,

“This report, published today, identifies and highlights the unique, flexible and critical input of the voluntary disability sector. This input must be valued, recognised and seen as part of the mainstream service to people with disabilities if we are to truly ensure that the quality of life of people with diverse disabilities is to be improved”.

Ends

For contact:

John Dolan: 086 795 7467

Allen Dunne: 086 850 2112 allendunne@disability-federation.ie

Des Kenny: 086 241 3746

Clodagh O’Brien:  087 853 0911 info@notforprofit.ie

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