Cabinet Shuffle: Initial Implications for Children & Adults with Developmental Disabilities

January 20, 2017

Cabinet Shuffle: Initial Implications for Children & Adults with Developmental Disabilities & Their Families

Yesterday, Premier Notley shuffled her cabinet and created a new Ministerial position responsible for Children’s Services.  The new Minister is Danielle Larivee.

This new department will be responsible for child care, early learning and development, child intervention, foster care and adoption, and relationships with Indigenous communities.  Inclusion Alberta has repeatedly raised with this and previous governments its concerns about the very large number of children with a wide range of disabilities that are in the child intervention and foster care system.  In addition, parents with intellectual disabilities also come into frequent contact with the child intervention system.  Both children with disabilities and parents with intellectual disabilities have not been receiving the supports and knowledgeable resources which are essential for their greater safety and well-being.  Simply separating child intervention into its own department will not substantively address the needs or significant safety concerns of children with disabilities who come into contact with child intervention or address the supports parents with intellectual disabilities require to successfully raise a family.  In fact, the separation may put both children with disabilities and parents with intellectual disabilities at greater risk unless Minister Larivee is prepared to ensure, within her new portfolio, the necessity for knowledgeable and appropriate disability related supports is taken into account.   

Alberta Human Services, now renamed Community and Social Services under Minister Irfan Sabir, will continue to be responsible for supports and services to children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families.  Inclusion Alberta, and others, had previously expressed its concern that the recent reorganization of Human Services, prior to today, lacked a designated leader within the Department with respect to disability.  We are pleased that our voices have been heard and that a new division, entitled Disability, Inclusion and Accessibility, has been established within Community and Social Services to be led by new Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM).  In the Department’s search for this ADM, vital to the disability community, it is our hope that an individual with a proven track record, in a commitment to inclusion by fostering community collaboration and the development of progressive policies and funding mechanisms, is found and employed.  

The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (OPGT) has been moved from Human Services to the Department of Justice and Solicitor General.  It is unclear, at this time, as to whether this will result in a more legalistic and bureaucratic approach to guardianship and trusteeship for individuals with disabilities and their families or whether the new of home for OPGT will be conducive to promoting alternatives to Guardianship such as supported-decision making and co-decision making.

Further information will be shared as it become available.

 

Contact:

Inclusion Alberta

1-800-252-7556

mail@inclusionalberta.org