Message to our MPP from Shirley Mather and David Dawe
January 27, 2019
Dear Sylvia Jones,
It was nice to see you, however briefly, today at the Mono Winterfest. We were sorry that we were not able to grab a minute of your time to chat as we wished to share a significant concern that exists, not only for our family, but many families in our community who have a family member who has a developmental disability.
We wanted to share with you the importance of, and with that, our concern about the possible threat to, the opportunity for our son Christopher and others in the community to receive Independent Facilitation. Independent Facilitation is an invaluable service that helps individuals plan for and build their best life in the community, often by helping them find and integrate natural community supports and opportunities into their daily lives.
We know this service is invaluable, as our son has had the privilege of being served by Facilitation Wellington Dufferin (FWD) through the Independent Facilitation Demonstration Project. Through working with his facilitator at FWD, Christopher lives a life that suits his talents, skills and a desire to be part of his community. His facilitator has helped us identify supports and opportunities that exist in our community. Rather than rely on a government funded day program (or be on a waiting list for one) to fill his days, Christopher, who loves to work, has a part time paid job, 2 volunteer jobs and pursues recreational activities that fit his busy schedule.
We are aging parents and at present we are working with his facilitator to start a personal network of support. A personal support network is made up of real people (not paid caseworkers) in his life, who commit to being involved on a regular basis to help with planning, decision making and problem solving.
Certainly you can see that the outcomes of Independent Facilitation are very cost effective in the long run, by finding and capitalizing on supports and opportunities in the community. Yet, we have heard that it is very possible that our government will not continue the funding for this service as of April 1st, 2019.
When you look into this, you might find out that perhaps it will still be possible to purchase this service on a fee-for-service basis. There are some flaws with this approach. What first will come to most people's minds are either that many families will not be able to afford fee-for-service programs, or if they are able to obtain and use Passport funding, there is an annual limit on how much they can use for Independent Facilitation. The annual limit makes it a very stop and start service which is difficult, as part of what makes this service so unique is the ongoing relationship between the individual and the facilitator which really gives the facilitator insight into what makes this person tick and where that passion can find a fit in the community.
What may not be obvious is what the fee-for-service model will do to the long term sustainability of high quality facilitation. Here in Dufferin county, it is Facilitation Wellington Dufferin that provides this service. They provide excellent training and ongoing mentoring for their facilitators. Facilitation is what they do, it is not an extra service they provide on the side. Stable funding, as what was occurring during the Independent Facilitation Demonstration Project, allows for regular ongoing training and mentoring to occur. A fee-for-service model will be unpredictable. For FWD and similar organizations who focus on facilitation, if unpredictable funding is in their future, we are concerned about what that will look like for families like ours in years to come when they seek out Independent Facilitation.
Certainly stopping the funding of Independent Facilitation will derail so much cost effective good that has been done and that could continue to be done. We are appealing to you to advocate on behalf of our family and the other 100 families in our area that find this service so necessary, to your colleagues in government so that the funding of this vital service can be continued.
We are happy to meet with you if you require any additional information about Independent Facilitation.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely Shirley Mather and David Dawe