Government Continues to Fail in its Moral and Ethical Responsibilities to
Individuals with Developmental Disabilities and their Families

CALGARY, Dec. 21 /CNW/ - In the last few days the public has become aware of how Alberta Seniors and Community Supports plans to drastically and hastily reduce services to adults with developmental disabilities now and next year. The Alberta Association for Community Living continues to see evidence of the government's failure to consider the safety and security of individuals with developmental disabilities.

Many thousands of individuals receive services from more than one agency (e.g., residential support from one and day support from another) and as such will be multiply and severely impacted. This increase in risk, to some of Alberta's most vulnerable citizens, has been completely ignored as government has asked individual agencies to consider reducing services without taking into account into the many thousands who receive assistance from more than one agency.

The Ministry chose to keep families in the dark by requesting agencies reduce services without ensuring the necessary agreement of those who will be directly impacted. Bruce Uditsky, AACL CEO and parent of a son with developmental disabilities, stated, "The actions of this government, in failing to communicate with families in the first instance, and then not seeking our consent in any reduction of services, raises serious moral and ethical questions? Families need to be actively engaged in the Department's thinking and planning."

Agencies have signed agreements with individuals and families that specify the services to be provided. A contractual requirement of the very government that now wants those agencies to ignore these agreements. Agencies must provide sufficient notice of any intended reduction in services, seek agreement and failing agreement, provide for a right to appeal.

Agencies are not at liberty to arbitrarily breech these agreements and impose reductions in services, even at the government's request. Those agencies, which have refused to consent to reducing needed services, are to be commended for their integrity and commitment.

Wendy McDonald, AACL President and a parent said, "Families want to know when the Alberta government decided our sons and daughters with developmental disabilities were not deserving of common decency and respect? Government should be working with us not against us. "

Families should notify their respective agencies not to reduce services without their consent. If services are being arbitrarily reduced, families should consider seeking legal advice and filing an appeal. This applies whether the government reduces funding now, agencies comply or services are reduced as of April 1, 2010. The government has informed agencies this reduction will take effect April 1, 2010 when agency contracts are renewed. As such families and their sons and daughters with developmental disabilities live in fear of cuts now and in the very the near future.

    
                       Stop the Cuts: Remove the Fear
    

SOURCE Alberta Association for Community Living

For further information: For further information: Bruce Uditsky, Chief Executive Officer, Phone: (780) 940-4269, Email: buditsky@aacl.org; Wendy McDonald, President, Phone: (780) 974-1310, Email: Possibilityworks@shaw.ca

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Alberta Association for Community Living

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