What’s the real reason for closing group homes for the developmentally disabled?

Re: Revelstoke residents feel effects of CLBC crisis, News, Oct. 26.

Re: Revelstoke residents feel effects of CLBC crisis, News, Oct. 26.

Editor,

It’s very sad that people who ultimately control the lives of people with developmental disabilities seem to be so far out of touch. Unfortunately the people receiving CLBC’s services, and the front line workers like those in your story, are seldom consulted and people who sit in offices a long, long way away seem to think they know what’s best for people who are not faces but a file on the desk. I wonder how many hours CLBC staff like Ms. Middleton have spent in the community checking out the great services and successes they are closing and cutting? It is very simplistic to say that group homes are ‘institutionalized’ and home share situations put people first. Both have their strengths for sure and each should be utilized accordingly. I can say that the group homes I know are home to the people who live there – some for over 20 years – and the people that live there together are family. While in a home share setting an individual often must fit into the home share provider’s life. In a group home there are staff whose sole focus is to support the people who live there in their needs, goals and lifestyle – in other words putting the people first. They are licensed and accredited and hire trained staff. If the staff at the group home decide to move on from their jobs, it does not mean the residents of the home are uprooted and forced to move; they stay because it is in fact, their home. Perhaps we should look at changing the name from ‘group home’ to ‘family home’ as well?

I’m sure most people I know who live or work at a group home would be very offended by the idea that a group home free of residents is a measure of success. There have been many, many tears shed across the province by people who have been forced to leave their homes and day programs and say goodbye to their friends and even pets. Most are not able to pick up a phone or pen to object, and the workers who support them cannot go public because of confidentiality issues and fear for their own chosen careers.

I wish that CLBC would give credit to everyone, especially those receiving service, for the great things that are happening. In my opinion the changes they are forcing on people are based solely on money, not at all on any ‘community living movement.’ While those who have chosen careers directly supporting people with developmental delays don’t receive big salaries and bonuses like the CLBC higher ups, we are given a living wage. It seems that the folks at CLBC think that’s too much and the real reason for these cuts and closures?

Joanne Dyck,

Sorrento, B.C.