Thursday, 7 July 2011

Government Fun(ding)

I've been reading enough about what's happening in the United States to know that it sounds like what's happening in Canada (or at least my part of Canada) right now: Government funding (or lack of it) is affecting what kind of services are being offered to people with intellectual disabilities. A new way of looking at funding is on the way: individualized funding.

From Agency Funding to Individualized Funding

Right now there's a conception that we have to rely on agencies to support people with disabilities. I've talked about this, and about how I think that there will always be a place for agency supports.

However, there's also something to be said for the idea of giving people the choice of where they'd like to get services. The idea behind individualized funding is that government funding goes directly to the person with the intellectual disability. If he needs a particular service, he may choose to purchase them from one agency that offers them, or he may choose to use his money to purchase those same services from another agency. Or another person might choose to purchase one day of support services from an agency and use the rest of the money on an independent worker to assist her to do community and employment-related activities. Or another person may choose to use his money entirely on independent workers and none at all on agency services.

This is the direction in which funding for people with intellectual disabilities is heading in a number of countries. Some have already implemented individualized funding, and find that it works wonderfully.

Change is coming for the field of developmental services. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next.

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