FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Call to government to address the critical needs of vulnerable people in the upcoming budget.
Winnipeg, Manitoba (April 5, 2017) – Services to Manitobans with intellectual disabilities are at a critical impasse. Funding has not been adjusted for cost of living increases in six years; there’s a lack of standardized training and constant staff turnover. Manitobans with intellectual disabilities are calling on the government to demonstrate that they are important in this next budget.
“It takes time for my daughter to build a relationship and to trust. It’s this trusting relationship that allows her to feel safe. When she’s not feeling safe and supported her anxiety grows and when her anxiety grows her behaviour changes. When she feels safe and protected she blossoms,” said Gloria Woloshyn, a concerned mom.
Families are waiting beyond ten years for residential services and only receive services in crisis situations. Staff that are doing complex work are getting paid the same as a server at a coffee shop and vulnerable people are seeing constant turnover in their support staff, leaving them at risk.
“There have been times where my daughter has built a good relationship only to have it gone. It hurts to watch this over again and again. In many cases the relationship ends, not because the worker wants to leave, but because the worker cannot afford to stay. My daughter is caught in the middle of this unhealthy circle and it’s really sad to watch,” said Gloria.
Over six-thousand adults with intellectual disabilities in Manitoba are affected by budget decisions made by the provincial government. Most are supported by non-profit, community agencies that fall under the Abilities Manitoba umbrella. These community agencies offer varied services including residential, employment, day, and respite supports.
“Family members are telling us they’re worried about funding. They’re afraid of cuts to front line services and that a system already fraught with problems will be further jeopardized.” said Margo Powell, Executive Director of Abilities Manitoba. This concern is compounded by the fact that funding has been flat-lined since 2011 which has resulted in many non-profit agencies being stretched further and further to deliver high quality supports.
Last April, at the Chamber of Commerce Leader’s debate, Premier Pallister was quoted as saying, “The best governments are always the ones that put the interests of vulnerable people first. I will do that as Premier.” We call on the provincial government to fulfill Premier Pallister’s words and show that Manitoba truly cares about people with intellectual disabilities and front line services critical to thousands of Manitoba families.
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