Plenty of British Columbians have needs

Kudos to the advocates and families of people with developmental disabilities

Kudos to the advocates and families of people with developmental disabilities who have spent countless hours trying to get their concerns heard. Now if only similar attention could be brought to the many other neglected social concerns in B.C.

Some changes have been made at Community Living B.C. Some new funding has been generated. It’s a testament to the effective advocacy of family members and supporters, and they know the hard work isn’t over yet.

Other community members should be so fortunate.  Plenty of British Columbians have needs as great as those being served by CLBC, but without the organized network of families and advocates to help them bring their issues forward.

Parents of children who have a developmental disability are rightly upset when their child finishes school at 19 only to learn there are no programs available for them due to long waiting lists. A child sits at home losing many of their learned skills. A parent ponders whether to quit a job to care for their adult children. It’s a terrible thing.

But it’s certainly not just young people with developmental disabilities experiencing such a cruel reality. Who stands up for those other children?

Who, for example, organizes public opinion for the 500 or so children who leave B.C.’s child protection program at age 19 every year with no consistent family connection or support? Who advocates for a better day for all the young people who live through trauma and abuse, and then shuffle through multiple foster homes, only to find themselves abruptly on their own in a world nobody prepared them for?

Who speaks for aging family members caring for a spouse with Alzheimer’s disease with virtually no support for the caregiver? Who stands alongside the family member ashamed to talk publicly about their child’s stigmatized illness – mental health, addiction, brain injury?

So many issues face British Columbians after years of pared-down social support. We need a social strategy that addresses all those needs, not one that merely puts out the biggest fire.

We applaud the hard-won successes of community-living advocates, but needs are needs. We are a better society and spend less money to boot when we provide the supports people need, regardless of what label they carry.

Research has told us many, many times that when we invest in prevention and intervention services, we spare ourselves vast expenses a few years down the line on crisis care for people who have poor health, more involvement with the police and justice systems, less education and lower incomes.

We absolutely support the need to have adequate community supports for people with developmental disabilities, but we can’t stop there.

For anyone facing difficulty in daily functioning, it makes good economic sense to provide the support people need to be healthy, engaged members of their community.

Shane Picken is president of the Federation of Community Social Services of B.C., which represents 137 community social service agencies. Dave Stigant is chair of the Board Voice Society of B.C., a non-profit that represents the viewpoint of B.C.’s volunteer boards of community-based social services.

 

Just Posted

Last full moon of the decade peaks at 12:12 on 12/12

December full moon also referred to as the cold moon

Canada ranks among countries most impacted by severe weather

Canada has climbed from the 42nd spot to ninth on the Climate Risk Index

Study shows Oak Bay’s dwindling population is rapidly aging

Housing Needs Study says Oak Bay facing a shortfall of 349 bedrooms

PHOTOS: West Shore students rally for 10,000 Tonight food drive

Students, community members gather, sort food donations

Brotherston sentenced to three years in prison for Sooke home invasion

Home invasion took place on Feb. 9 and left one man with face and head injuries

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Dec. 10

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you have a real or artificial Christmas tree?

The lights are up, holiday shoppers are bustling through the streets and… Continue reading

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

One man dead after car crash in Nanaimo

One person died, another was injured in the accident which happened Wednesday on Nanaimo Lakes Road

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by pellet gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

Most Read