Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Community Living stories in the new again

Campbell River mom, daughter one of first to test new Community Living B.C. waters

Sian Thomson, Times Colonist, January 29, 2013. 

 

A Campbell River mother and her special needs adult daughter are one of the first families to test the waters of the new revamped services from Community Living B.C. 

 

Victoria Allen and her special needs adult daughter Becky have become one of the first two "test cases" according to David Hurford, Director of Communications for Community Living BC (CLBC).

 

Allen had to stop working to care for her daughter 24/7 and repeated and exhaustive attempts to get this corrected fell on deaf ears, she said. 

 

"It was one meeting after another, one email after another, one phone call after another, all with no answers , just more delays, more "no's" more frustration, mixed messages," she says.

 

Allen was getting desperate because she had a permanent job offer and did not think she could take it unless CLBC put services back in place for her daughter so she could work.

 

Allen's Becky has multiple disabilities and requires daily care and supervision. When she turned 19, the responsibility for her care shifted from the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) to CLBC which funds support services for adults and youth who have developmental delays and learning disabilities.

 

Up to October 2012, Allen received support through a funding agreement with CLBC. While Allen used to work while Becky was in a day program and respite care, "as of Nov. 23 everything was gone" she said.
 
"CLBC wanted to move Becky out of my home and into a home share," said Victoria.
"For the past year and a half everything was great," said Allen. "Becky has been having less seizures, hardly needs to use her walker anymore, and is so happy, very affectionate with me. It is the happiest and most at peace she has been in a long time. Then they told me her only options under CLBC funding were home share or a staffed home. So they wanted to move her out of her home with me and into a situation that would cause her stress and set-backs."

Through a series of failed attempts after being placed in living situations away from home while Becky was growing up, her mother says that her health and safety were neglected and put at risk.

"She had been physically and verbally abused, isolated, and stressed," said Allen. "And again they wanted to take her out of our home and move her into a home share where it would cost a lot more than what it does not to keep her with me."

The funding she received paid for the trained caregivers required to keep Becky living at home, and attending a day program part time, while her mother worked. Funding also paid for a respite care provider to take Becky two weekends a month. The funding was paid directly to the care providers.

"Without the funds CLBC was paying to Becky's care providers, I have to drive her where she needs to go, pick her up, supervise her, take her to the doctors, I am with her 24/7. I cannot work under these conditions," said Allen.

But instead of renewing the agreement that was already in place and working, Allen says she was told to take out a personal loan to pay for her daughter's care.

Hurford says that the Allen case is one of the first to test the waters since the new and improved quality service measures have been implemented but Allen continues to feel the stress of being set adrift by CLBC and waiting for help to come.

Allen reports that currently there have been some services put in place since the Courier Islander contacted CLBC, but said Becky had already been injured from a fall when she had a seizure on the first day she left her with a caregiver and went to work. "I still have nothing in writing, they tell me everything takes time, everything is complicated. I am working for now, but I don't know how this is going to end up."

sthomson@courierislander.com

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