Growing Waitlist for Supports for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
On February 23, 2020 the Alberta government, in the interest of transparency made public some data relative to the number of adults with developmental disabilities receiving or waiting for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) supports. While this effort at greater transparency is welcome, a preliminary analysis of this data on the eve of what is anticipated to be a challenging budget, raises serious concerns and fears in the hearts of families of children and adults with developmental disabilities. There is increasing apprehension given the cuts or delays in funding and supports forced upon many families to-date, that further cuts and increasing waiting lists are on the horizon.
Currently, there are 12,784 adults with developmental disabilities receiving support but there is no information on the adequacy of these supports or funding. We do not know how many individuals and families are receiving less than what is actually needed and we’re not certain government captures this vital information. Nor is there yet public data on families of children with disabilities and their access to supports through the Family Supports for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) program. We have asked government for this information to be released as well.
Barb MacIntyre, Inclusion Alberta President and parent of an adult son with developmental disabilities stated, “Critical information on the number of individuals and families that have had their funding and supports reduced since the government assumed power has not been made public and should be. Every single day we hear the desperation in the voices of families who have had their funding and supports reduced or threatened, or who have been unable to obtain any funded supports at all.”
Trish Bowman, Inclusion Alberta CEO noted, “The data clearly shows that since June 2019 more families and individuals than ever before in Alberta’s history are now waiting for supports. The government refers to 2357 individuals with developmental disabilities being in “Service Planning”. In reality this is a euphemism for a waiting list. To our understanding, these thousands of Albertans with developmental disabilities are not receiving any PDD supports and have no information as to when or what supports might be offered. We have asked the Department for clarification of this information.”
The data also indicates that from June to December 2018, 271 new individuals received support in comparison to same period in 2019 when only 88 new individuals were provided with supports, a significant reduction – 3 times less. In turn the number of individuals waiting for supports grew by 339 individuals from June-December 2019 in comparison to the same time period in 2018 when there was actually a decline in the numbers on the planning list– meaning individuals with developmental disabilities were obtaining supports at a far greater rate in 2018 than is currently the case. As the government data clearly tells a disheartening story – the number of families and individuals without support is growing and the rate at which individuals and their families obtaining supports has slowed dramatically. Based on this data, an Alberta family could theoretically wait 15 years to hear what supports they will be offered and only then learn what is being offered may be far from what is needed.
The cuts to individuals and families must stop now, funding restored and the growing waitlist thoughtfully but with certainty and immediacy, remedied.
For further inquiries, or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jeff Samsonow, Communications Coordinator, Inclusion Alberta
780.451.3055 ext. 422