I am dismayed to hear that Doug Ford is planning to cut the budget for Independent Facilitation. Instead of being cut I would like this program to be extended. The focus is on providing the kinds of support individuals need to integrate more successful in their communities. There is no other program that supports this type of programming, which is based on the particular person and their needs. And even if there were, there is not enough funding to pay for what this program provides from Passport funding.
My 26 year old son with autism is being supported by Erin Levesque from Citizen Advocacy and it is enormously helpful to him and to me. She has helped strengthen his friendships with others in the community, worked to improve communication between his day program workers and his group home workers and also provided support to me and good advice, as it can be overwhelming parenting a young adult with autism. We are currently setting up a Relationship Circle for David to connect him more independently to friends and support in the community, but I am concerned this will not be properly implemented or supported if this funding is cut.
This seems to me a short-sighted budget cut aimed at removing services from the most vulnerable members of our society and the ones least able to advocate for themselves. The emotional distress this will cause participants who have come to know and trust their Independent Facilitators and the additional stress put on family members by removing this source of practical and emotional support cannot be overstated.
I hope this program continues to be funded and is expanded in the future. The decision to cut this individual-centred program goes against the social justice movement to have a more inclusive society for people with disabilities.