Plenty of British Columbians have needs

Kudos to the advocates and families of people with developmental disabilities

Kudos to the advocates and families of people with developmental disabilities who have spent countless hours trying to get their concerns heard. Now if only similar attention could be brought to the many other neglected social concerns in B.C.

Some changes have been made at Community Living B.C. Some new funding has been generated. It’s a testament to the effective advocacy of family members and supporters, and they know the hard work isn’t over yet.

Other community members should be so fortunate.  Plenty of British Columbians have needs as great as those being served by CLBC, but without the organized network of families and advocates to help them bring their issues forward.

Parents of children who have a developmental disability are rightly upset when their child finishes school at 19 only to learn there are no programs available for them due to long waiting lists. A child sits at home losing many of their learned skills. A parent ponders whether to quit a job to care for their adult children. It’s a terrible thing.

But it’s certainly not just young people with developmental disabilities experiencing such a cruel reality. Who stands up for those other children?

Who, for example, organizes public opinion for the 500 or so children who leave B.C.’s child protection program at age 19 every year with no consistent family connection or support? Who advocates for a better day for all the young people who live through trauma and abuse, and then shuffle through multiple foster homes, only to find themselves abruptly on their own in a world nobody prepared them for?

Who speaks for aging family members caring for a spouse with Alzheimer’s disease with virtually no support for the caregiver? Who stands alongside the family member ashamed to talk publicly about their child’s stigmatized illness – mental health, addiction, brain injury?

So many issues face British Columbians after years of pared-down social support. We need a social strategy that addresses all those needs, not one that merely puts out the biggest fire.

We applaud the hard-won successes of community-living advocates, but needs are needs. We are a better society and spend less money to boot when we provide the supports people need, regardless of what label they carry.

Research has told us many, many times that when we invest in prevention and intervention services, we spare ourselves vast expenses a few years down the line on crisis care for people who have poor health, more involvement with the police and justice systems, less education and lower incomes.

We absolutely support the need to have adequate community supports for people with developmental disabilities, but we can’t stop there.

For anyone facing difficulty in daily functioning, it makes good economic sense to provide the support people need to be healthy, engaged members of their community.

Shane Picken is president of the Federation of Community Social Services of B.C., which represents 137 community social service agencies. Dave Stigant is chair of the Board Voice Society of B.C., a non-profit that represents the viewpoint of B.C.’s volunteer boards of community-based social services.

 

Just Posted

An SUV sits where it crashed through the front window of the 2:18 Run store in Fairfield Plaza, after the driver appeared to lose control on Monday afternoon. (Photo by Phil Nicholls)
Driver crashes through front window of Victoria running store in Fairfield

Phil Nicholls of 2:18 Run said crash sounded like an earthquake at first

Processed sewage is still being deposited at the Hartland landfill rather than sent as biosolids to a Richmond cement plant. (Black Press Media file photo)
Biosolids at Hartland still being placed on landfill in Saanich

Richmond cement plant up and running, but CRD end product not suitable for purpose

Seismic upgrading and expansion work at Victoria High School is about a year behind due to pandemic-related factors, the Greater Victoria School District announced. (Photo by Cole Descoteau)
Victoria High School seismic work, expansion a year behind schedule

Greater Victoria School District now targeting September 2023 for reopening of historic school

Elk Lake Drive area resident Michael Blayney protests a proposed multi-building development for his Royal Oak neighbourhood, outside Saanich municipal hall on Monday (June 14). (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Demonstrators protest 11-storey development on Elk Lake Drive in Saanich

Saanich locals gather at municipal hall to protest development, public hearing goes Tuesday

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is calling on Transport Canada to rescind its ban to Feb. 28, 2022 on cruise ship stops in Canada, to allow planning to begin in advance of a reopening of the cruise industry next year.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority seeks end to federal ban on cruise ship stops in Canada

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority CEO hopes cruises will resume by 2022

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read