Since the 2008 “inquiry into the quality of care and service provision for people with disabilities”, things have been changing. There have been initiatives to ‘try out’ approaches that result in disabled people and families having more choice and control. These initiatives have been restricted to certain parts of the country, and have included things like:
- Choice in Community Living
- Enabling Good Lives (EGL) demonstrations in Christchurch and the Waikato
- Local Area Co-ordination, and
- Enhanced Individualised Funding.
In February 2017, Cabinet agreed to “an overall approach, based on the Enabling Good Lives (EGL) vision and principles, to transforming the cross-government disability support system… “. The period of piecemeal trials is concluding and the era of system transformation is beginning.
Currently, groups of disabled people, families, whānau, providers and officials are working together on the key things that will happen in the first place where the full transformation will happen i.e. the MidCentral Region. It is too early to accurately predict what the final version may look like.
However, there are several things that are very likely to be core elements of the new system. These things include people having:
- a new way to work out funding that is strengths-based
- a personal budget
- a range of ways they can choose to manage their budgets
- having access to an independent person (EGL Connector) who they can use to explore options and ideas with
- easier access to crisis support
- building stronger disabled persons and family networks, and
- a regional and national leadership approach where disabled people and families have key roles.
These changes are intended to result in disabled people and families having more “say so” in creating good lives for themselves, easier systems and a much greater ability to build supports that work for them. This requires change for everyone. It will take time to make sure these changes actually work better for people.
Disabled people and families will continue to be able to refine “the new system”. These changes are intended to add new opportunities and not erode things that are currently working well for families. If families are happy with existing supports, then it is likely they can choose to continue with them, and also choose to have the service manage their budget.
For some, needing to wait will create frustration. However, it is an opportunity for us all to begin to think differently, prepare, and for some of us to learn new skills.
The types of things that will enable individuals and families to make the best use of these new opportunities include:
- having an idea of what a good life looks like for our family (our values, dreams and goals)
- being clear in expressing what we want (many of us are better at expressing what we don’t want!)
- knowing some basic ways to negotiate with others (supports/services)
- becoming clear about how much we want to do ourselves and what we want others to do (there will be a range of options) and the ways we can monitor and positively influence things as they roll out.
There are already many examples of how more choice, and a flexible person-directed approach, works better for individuals and families.
The timeline for the change process is not finalised. However, it is likely to start, in the MidCentral Region, 1 July 2018. It will take time for us to all become clear about what these changes really mean, and how we can best use new opportunities.
At this time, it is strongly suggested you take opportunities to access face-to-face events that will keep families up-to-date with progress, give chances for people to feed in their thoughts and offer a place for people to learn new skills (or refine existing skills).
There is also a website specifically designed to keep everyone aware of ‘system transformation’ progress at www.enablinggoodlives.co.nz
You may also be interested in the system transformation up-dates on the EGL website. This is updated regularly.
NOTE: From 2018 all Care Matters workshops will have an EGL component (that explains the EGL principles and vision and includes updates on System Transformation and how families can be kept informed). The content will vary from workshop to workshop, depending on what information families want, which may range from a brief overview to a more in-depth discussion.
Call freephone 0508 236 236 to find out about upcoming workshops, or to request a workshop in your area (there needs to be 9 or more people and you or your family member need to qualify for disability support services).