It’s June 16, 2009 and you may remember that I wrote that new eligibility regulations are coming in the fall.
The latest word on the street is that nothing changes for people who have an IQ at or under 70. Despite Community Living’s opposition to using IQ as a measurement tool for eligibility purposes it is still the status quo.
Some good news arising from the End Waitlists Now campaign is that people who have an IQ of over 70, and have Autism or FAS – may be eligible shortly. I understand that eligibility is determined by one of three tests: the scales of independent behaviour revised, the Vineland behavior adaptive scales, and the adaptive behavior system. Somehow this all adds up to determine the score of "significant adaptive functioning" – that has yet to be defined.
I also understand that the new Regulation is being drafted to be presented to the Minister, then to Cabinet, and then into law once the House sits.
The new rules will be in effect in October/November and I imagine they will be quite narrow so not as to exhaust the 2.5 million that has been allocated in the first year. In the second year, my understanding is that 10 million in funding follows, creating a total of 12.9 million over two years. I am hoping that the criteria is not too narrow and rules out funding a vulnerable person even though it is common sense to do so. Moreover, a second look at the criteria when more funding is available is warranted so that the criteria can be refined to help those who truly need the support.
For instance, imagine a young adult with no family who has been in the care of MCFD for the first of her 19 years and supported by a foster family. Her IQ is 76, she has FAS and Autism, and a pyschological assessment report suggests she functions at the level of a six-year old. Currently, she is ineligible for services from CLBC. And under the current rules when she turns 19, she will be put out on the street and into the community. As you might imagine, this greatly increases her vulnerability. Remember, she has no family as a safety net.
So what can be done? For this young girl, (a real situation) it is important to have an advocate that can act to ensure that her interests are met. However, in looking at the bigger picture it becomes clear that the Government needs to strive for some consistency in it’s eligibility criteria as people transistion from MCFD to CLBC. People are not magically cured when they turn 19 and not recognizing this just creates hardships on people with disabilities and their families. And if you don’t have a family then the vulnerable become even more so and are at risk.
We have to keep trying to convince Government to make change on the eligibility criteria. To that end, let’s get more connected around this issue. There is an existing Facebook group that is focused on the eligibility criteria. Please join the group and it will make it easier for everyone to share information, collaborate, and make a positive change in people’s lives.
So stay tuned, stay connected, and let’s hear from you on this issue.