Released on September 21, 2016Social Services Minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor today announced the future implementation of a self-directed funding (SDF) model for individuals who experience intellectual disabilities to give them greater choice over their life decisions. Self-directed funding allows individuals experiencing intellectual disabilities to choose supports that meet their needs and help them reach their goals.
Currently, funding to clients goes through community-based organizations, but under SDF, goes directly to the individual. This allows individuals and their support team to decide which supports and services they access depending on their own unique needs and aspirations. Minister Beaudry-Mellor joined participants of the SDF Demonstration Project and their families to celebrate the positive impact and successes of this approach.
“The result of the SDF pilot has been remarkable,” Beaudry-Mellor said. “I look forward to working with the disability community to find ways for even more people across the province to experience the success that the project participants have had. SDF aligns with the Saskatchewan Disability Strategy by providing individuals experiencing disabilities with more effective supports and services, as well as a greater sense of dignity in gaining more independence.”
Lynn Schaan, whose son Daniel was a participant in the project, joined Minister Beaudry-Mellor at the announcement, which took place in Daniel’s home. Through SDF, Daniel now lives independently with a roommate (his brother) and has trained support staff visit when needed.
“Self-directed funding allows Danny the freedom and choice to create a unique plan of daily living that puts joy in his life, light in his eyes, hope in his dreams and the safe environment to grow, mature and become the best he can be,” Schaan said. “I am overwhelmed by Danny's growth in the past 10 months. Like every parent, I hoped and dreamed that Danny would have a good life if he had the appropriate supports, and self-directed funding has given Danny that opportunity. I am so grateful.”
The Saskatchewan Association for Community Living (SACL) is a community-based organization that works to ensure that individuals experiencing intellectual disabilities are valued, supported, and included, and have opportunities and choices in all aspects of life. The Ministry of Social Services partnered with SACL to provide facilitation and navigational services to participants and their families during the demonstration project.
“The Saskatchewan Disability Strategy talks about making supports for people with disabilities more person-centred, and self-directed funding is one way to make that happen,” SACL Director of Strategic Initiatives Judy Hannah said. “Self-directed funding allows people with intellectual disabilities to create a plan for their lives. SACL is so pleased to have been a part of the project. It has been incredibly exciting to see the changes in the lives of each of the individuals and families involved.”
SACL produced a video demonstrating the positive impact of SDF that can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVB3ee-xqd4&feature=youtu.be.
A self-directed funding option was one of the recommendations put forward by the Valley View Centre Transition Steering Committee in 2013. The Committee recognized that some individuals were unable to access certain supports through the former funding model, and that a funding model with more choices and autonomy would personalize the supports and services available to individuals transitioning from Valley View Centre into communities across Saskatchewan. The self-directed funding model will be implemented province-wide beginning April 1, 2017.
Individuals and families who are interested in this opportunity can talk to their Community Living Service Delivery worker for more information.
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