Province widens safety net for the intellectually disabled

Nathan Liewicki
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Moose Jaw to receive eight of 15 support spots in Sask.

People with intellectual disabilities are being given a wider ‘safety net’ from the province.

Valley View Centre is set to close i 2016, but in reponse to a steering committee, the province is expanding supports available to people with intellectual services like those at the centre. 

In response to recommendations by the Valley View Centre (VVC) Transition Steering Committee, new support services will be offered to people with intellectual disabilities in Moose Jaw and Saskatoon, June Draude, minister of social services announced May 9.

“When we were putting the recommendations together it was something the Valley View Centre Family Group, the Saskatchewan Association of Community Living (SACL) and the ministry were all adamant that we needed to ensure there are safety nets,” Kevin McTavish, executive director of SACL, told the Times-Herald Monday.

McTavish noted the SACL is “delighted” the ministry of social services accepted the recommendation.

Consisting of short-term assessment and stabilization services, the safety net will provide spaces for eight people in Moose Jaw – at two locations – and seven others at other locations in the province.

“The lack of a safety net was one of the main concerns, so recognition by the government to enhance transition services and do so through government-operated programs was extremely positive,” said Mark LeBere, director of outreach and prevention services for the VVC Family Group.

In addition to the development of the homes, the ministry has agreed to expand outreach services to support the transition of individuals to the new homes, including community-based prevention, comprehensive behaviour support planning and respite.

Each of these services is designed to aid people with intellectual disabilities to remain in their community homes.

“This announcement is very timely, as the first person has recently left Valley View to reside in his home community,” Draude said in a press release.

She also noted that the expectation is by March 2015, to have as many as 20 people moved back into the community after using the safety net.

“We want to make sure the transition is successful and a lot of thought is put into the homes people are moving into,” said McTavish. “It’s not only positive for the 187 folks that are transitioning out of Valley View now, but it’s going to be important for other individuals requiring safety nets (in the future).”

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Organizations: Valley View Centre, Saskatchewan Association of Community Living, Transition Steering Committee Times-Herald VVC Family Group

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Sask., Saskatoon Valley View

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