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FAQ: PDD budget and resource allocation

Why are you changing PDD? The PDD program has been delivering services in the same way for decades, and its budget has continued to grow at a rate that is not sustainable. Furthermore, it is entirely focused on less than 10 percent of the people in Alberta who have a disability and may require support. Many people are excluded from the system because of their inability to access programs, or because of entrance barriers, like the IQ test. While we dont know the true nature of all their needs, we know that the requests from this group of people with unmet needs is increasing. It is time to change the support model and adopt more modern best practices. We need to make sure our system is effective and sustainable, so everyone who needs services is able to get them in the future. Is the PDD budget being cut? No. While many budgets across government have seen reductions, the overall PPD budget has increased this year a net increase of about $3.5 million for a total of $694 million. That shows just how much of a priority this program is. Is the community access category of services being eliminated? No. Funding for community access has been reduced by about $42 million. It has not been eliminated. Approximately $54 million remains in place. What is community access? PDD funds staff supports in three main areas: Community living supports, which help individuals live as independently as possible in their home (e.g. a staff person to help with meal planning and housekeeping) Employment supports, which help individuals pursue job skills training and get and keep jobs (e.g. a staff person to help the individual get to work, learn the job, and eventually, where possible, get to the point where they can do the job on their own) Community access supports, which help individuals participate in their community (e.g. a staff person to help the individual with volunteering, going to clubs, sports and other activities)

Why was this category of services cut? Funding has been prioritized to programs that have the most significant impact and the most positive outcomes for individuals: community living and employment supports. In 2012, we spent $96 million on community access, yet we know that social inclusion continues to be a significant challenge for people with developmental disabilities. We also know that meaningful employment increases a persons sense of independence and self-determination, 1

and helps them enjoy a full and rewarding life as a part of their community. That is why we are investing in employment-related services. Can you indicate where the funding was reprioritized in the budget? The budget estimates are available online at: http://www.finance.alberta.ca/publications/budget/estimates/est2013/human-services.pdf This document shows that there were increases in the area of community living (approx. $29 million), employment ($3 million), direct operations (approx. $7 million associated with the costs of closing the large residential facilities at Michener), and supports to delivery system (approx. $3 million, which includes increases for caseload growth and improvement to supports for people with complex needs). How do you know that social inclusion is a challenge for people? PDD measures outcomes using a tool called My Life, the Personal Outcomes Index. It is a survey conducted by adults with developmental disabilities who are trained in this process. They ask other adults with developmental disabilities or a proxy on their behalf to answer some questions about their life experiences in eight domains that are indicative of quality of life. More information about this survey and a report on the results of the Personal Outcomes Index is available online at: http://humanservices.alberta.ca/disability-services/pdd-poi.html Arent people with developmental disabilities too disabled to work? Not at all. Sixty per cent of PDD-funded individuals have been assessed as having low needs. That means most of these individuals are employable to a certain degree. Yet currently, only 18 per cent of PDD-funded individuals have some level of employment. Many individuals who receive support from PDD have indicated that employment is one of their goals. Dont people with developmental disabilities need help in order to be employed? Some people do need help to be employed. PDD will be working with Alberta Works to improve employment supports for people with disabilities. So does this mean people will not be able to go out into their communities and do things? No. Everybody is different, and each person will continue to get services based on their unique needs. Some people are able to go out in their communities and do things on their own, or with friends. For those who cant, community access support will still be there. Does this mean that people who are employable will have to start working full-time? No. People will be supported to work as much as they are able and as much as they want to in order to meet their individual goals. The goal is not to have everyone working 40 hours a week, it is to have people participating in meaningful employment-related activities, so they can enjoy 2

the independence, self-determination, personal pride, and social opportunities that working provides to all of us. Does this mean that people who are employable will have to stop volunteering? No. Volunteering is an important part of community inclusion, and an opportunity that all Albertans are encouraged to enjoy. If someone becomes employed, does that mean they won't receive any community access supports? No. Its not necessarily a one or the other scenario. Everybody is different, and each person will get services based on their unique needs and goals. Which specific services will be discontinued? That is yet to be determined. PDD is working with service providers to determine how community access will be provided in each of the PDD regions. Where appropriate, PDD will work with service providers to move their programs to an employment focus. Why are you using SIS? The SIS, or Supports Intensity Scale, is a tool developed by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIID). It measures the level of assistance that an individual with disabilities would need to do the same things that people without disabilities do. It focuses on the persons support needs, rather than their deficits. The PDD program has adopted the SIS as a standardized method of assessing the support needs of individuals who get support from the PDD program. Prior to the introduction of this tool, PDD did not have a consistent way to assess needs or determine the amount of funding required to meet those needs. The result is that, across the province, there is an extremely wide range of funding levels for people who have similar needs. We need to make it fair and consistent, and ensure that people are not getting too much or too little support. What if the SIS is not accurate for everyone? A PDD SIS Specialist who has been certified by AAIDD does a face-to-face interview with the individual and family members, friends, service providers, or others who know the person well. The SIS specialist describes a number of life activities and asks the group to rate the amount of support the individual would need to successfully participate in each of the life activities. The interview process is positive and thorough, and takes about three hours. This process helps to ensure that we get a full picture of the person and their support needs. However, we know that no assessment tool is perfect.

That is why the SIS is not the only thing that is used to determine funding. The persons geographic location, existing natural supports, such as family, friends, and community, and most importantly, their individual goals, will also be used to determine their funding. SIS is just the assessment. PDD also completes an individual support plan that will help to determine the persons goals and what they need to achieve them. People with disabilities are worried that if they are seen as having too many skills, they might not get any support. Is that true? No. People who are eligible for PDD will still get support from PDD. But we want PDD services to help individuals achieve their goals, promote their independence, and help them be more involved in their communities. Sometimes having too many paid staff around a person can actually hinder those things. We know from experience that sometimes when a person with a developmental disability is always with a worker, the community engages with the worker and not the individual. Will people still be allowed to appeal changes in their services? Yes. People have the right to appeal changes in their service level.