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Inclusion Ireland Employment and Human Rights Working Group 2023

Inclusion Ireland wants to recruit a working group of 6 people with intellectual disabilities who want to speak up about the right to employment.

The right to employment means to get a job but also to be supported at work, be treated with respect, and have the opportunity to progress in your career.

The group will get training about employment rights and advocacy.

There will be 6-8 meetings during 2023.

Some meetings will be on zoom, and some will be in-person events.

You will also help to make a guide to inclusive employment for employers, videos and podcasts.

You can read the Easy to Read Flyer here: IHREC Project 2023 Flyer

How to apply

You can answer the questions in this Easy to Read Document by email: Employment and Human Rights Working Group 2023 Application

Or you can make a video where you answer the questions.

Email your completed application form or video to fiachra@inclusionireland.ie .

We may ask you to take part in a Zoom interview.

The closing date for applications is Sunday the 11th of December 2022.

 

For more information contact Fiachra

fiachra@inclusionireland.ie – 086 837 3394

 

Profound difficulties in Housing and Supported Living for adults with intellectual disabilities in Ireland

9 November 2022  There have been a number of specific references to significant difficulties facing adults with intellectual disabilities this week following on from a RTE Prime Time Programme on Nov 1st.  This programme detailed Sam’s story and his family’s relentless efforts to ensure he has the services and supports he needs. The College of Psychiatrists in Ireland also released a statement warned how the “system of caring for adults is beyond crisis”

At Inclusion Ireland we know that Sam and his family’s story as told on RTE Prime Time is replicated all across Ireland. There is an absolute crisis around planning for people with intellectual disabilities to move out of their family home and into a home of their own. More than 1500 disabled people are living at home with a primary carer over the age of 70 with 450 of these carers over the age of 80. Too many people are waiting, too many families are struggling. (National Federation of Voluntary Service Providers, 2022.) Inclusion Ireland have repeatedly called for the publication of the Disability Capacity Review Implementation Plan which should at least begin the process of supporting people in a planned and human rights compliant way to move into a home of their own. Right now, the system only deals with ” emergencies “.This is just not good enough. Without action people wait and try to cope or end up in emergency responses such as being ” moved” with no choice to a nursing home or to a house far away from their community and family. Such practices are heart-breaking and unacceptable and happen frequently.

Paul Alford,  an advocate who has owned his own home since 2016 says: “People have the right to their own home under UNCRPD, the people making the decisions forget that!  All the experts are telling us there are so many problems, we have reports to tell us how many people are waiting and how many people need support. They don’t need it in the future, they need it now. The government need to publish implementation plans and the actions that come with them, so people can have the independence and a life of their own. It’s not what other people want but what people themselves want. People just want the chance. We have the policies but people are waiting for years living with family or in institutions. People don’t have the funding they need.  When I got my own home, it was strange at the beginning but it was worth it in the end and worth having my key to my own door, Having and choosing my own support is important. Having my own home has contributed to my independence, I make my own decisions and do the things I want. Everyone deserves the same chance to do the same”

 

You can read the full statement  from the College of Psychiatrists in Ireland here:

Press Statement: College warns of ‘profound issues‘ with services for adults with intellectual disability around the country.

Inclusion Ireland Statement on the Delay of the Opening of the Decision Support Service

It has been announced this week that the commencement of the Assisted Decision Making Capacity Act 2015 will be delayed once more. The Opening of operations of the Decision Support Service has been delayed on a number of occasions to allow for legislative amendments which are necessary  for the act and the service to progress.

 

The Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015, provides for a Decision Support Service which will oversee and carry out the operations of the Act in supporting people who may need assistance with decisions, if their capacity is brought into question. This Legislation will be hugely important for people with intellectual disabilities in particular because many will need lifelong support with their decisions and it will enable people to have different levels of support with decisions as they may need it.

 

Below is the statement from the Decision Support Service themselves on the delay:

“The Decision Support Service (DSS) is aware that the amending legislation (the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Bill 2022) required for the full commencement of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 has not progressed through the Seanad according to the intended timeline.

We are waiting to hear from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth as to the implications of this and will update all stakeholders at that stage.

As we have stated previously, once the Act is commenced in full, the services of the DSS will be available to the public”.

Tomas Murphy, member of the Board of Directors of Inclusion Ireland says

“It is disappointing that the law that will start the assisted decision making act has been delayed again. People with intellectual disabilities have been waiting for a long time so that people will assume we have capacity to make our own decisions. The new law will hopefully help many people to have support with decisions so they can have choice and control over their own lives. We can’t wait any longer, we have been waiting too long for this to happen already. However, we want the law and the decision support service to work well for everyone when it is up and running so it needs to be right. The government should make this a priority for early 2023 because people have a right to make their own decisions and to have the support they need.”

 

Inclusion Ireland and AsIAm give a Cautious Welcome to the Pause of the Rollout of the Assessment of Need Process

27th October 2022: Inclusion Ireland and AsIAm, two of the country’s leading disability advocacy organisations representing autistic people and people with intellectual disabilities, have given a cautious welcome to the decision of the NCSE to pause the roll-out of the flawed approach to the Assessment of Need process, which would have seen principals or teachers conduct the assessment, but have emphasised that pathway forward must be rapidly identified through deep engagement with stakeholders

Under the Disability Act of 2005, every child born after 2002 has the rights to an assessment of their needs. This process helps to determine if a child has a disability, what their needs are and what supports they should be provided with, subject to statutory resources. Under the Act, this process must be completed with 6 months of the date of application. In recent years, the HSE has failed to achieve these timelines leaving many children and families without access to diagnosis and educational based supports. A series of recent High Court and Court of Appeals cases have strengthened the right to a comprehensive Assessment of Need, this has included a Court of Appeal ruling which requires the National Council for Special Education to provide an assessment of a child’s educational needs when requested to do so by the HSE. This was a landmark ruling as families have waited nearly 20 years to secure this right, since the passage of the Act.

 

Last week, the National Council for Special Education announced that it would require principals, or in some cases teachers, to conduct this assessment despite these professionals being neither independent nor clinically qualified to carry out such work. This decision was paused yesterday pending further piloting and consultation

 

Responding to the news, Adam Harris, CEO of AsIAm said “We were deeply concerned about the proposed ad-hoc approach to conduct what should be an independent, professional assessment. It would appear that the process envisaged was little more than a copy and paste exercise of existing documents. What support a school is currently providing to a student is not an assessment of what they child may in fact need. Furthermore, principals have a key role in allocating SEN resources within schools and are arguably not in a position to independently assess the needs of a child in a statutory process. The state should hold true to the spirit of the law and meaningfully engage with stakeholders without delay to find a pathway forward which fully complies with the Court judgement

 

Derval McDonagh CEO of Inclusion Ireland states: “Assessment of Need remains incredibly challenging for children and their families. What is clear is that the Disability Act, the legislation underpinning the assessment process, is deeply flawed and not fit for purpose.  Enshrining the right to an assessment of need within the legislation without the right to interventions means that disabled children are often left without meaningful support. It is a missed opportunity this year to review the EPSEN act, without a full and comprehensive review of the Disability Act, otherwise we will continue to see challenges in the coordinated and appropriate delivery of supports to children who need it the most. All of the workarounds for the AON process we have seen in recent times are a direct result of legislation which is not fit for purpose, combined with a lack of proper resourcing of teams in health ,social care and educational settings . Hand in hand with the legislation review, a full and comprehensive workforce planning strategy needs to be a priority, otherwise we will continue to see the challenges for children accessing their right to an inclusive education which meets their individual needs”

 

Budget 2023 Response on Education

The following are our main points on the Education measures of Budget 2023 :

  1. Inclusion Ireland welcomes the reduction of class sizes to 23 to 1. We have campaigned for this and will continue to do so until class sizes are more in line with EU averages and can support Inclusion for all children.
  2. We are very concerned about the Special Needs Assistants (SNA) allocation. Although 1194 new SNA posts were announced , there are only a percentage going towards mainstream education. We need to get the balance right if we are to build towards an inclusive school model so that all children can go to school together.
  3. We also need to see more investment in therapy teams for schools to support children to access their right to education. We need to move beyond pilot programmes and into sustained investment in our schools so that children get the support they need in their local school.
  4. We hope that the announcement of funding for the National Council for Special Education and additional SENOs will mean that more children will be supported locally and that communication between schools, families and SENOs will improve.
  5. The further investment in the extended summer programme will go same way towards making up the access to education which was lost during the pandemic and we hope, with the timely announcement, that schools will be in a position to plan effectively so that the children who really need extra support accessing their right to education will get it.
  6. We welcome the announcement of the free books scheme. This will help children with disabilities whose families are under pressure financially.

Spokesperson for Inclusion Ireland, self advocate Emma Costello says “When I was in primary and secondary school I had great support from an SNA and it was really important and helped me to learn then when I went onto post leaving cert, my mother had to really fight for support for me. Having an SNA means that you know somebody has your back and will support you. Everybody should have the chance to be in the same school together. To do that in the right way we need the government and everyone to think differently about inclusive education so everybody gets the support they need, the way they need it and when they need it.”

Prebudget Submission 2023

Each year inclusion Ireland works on budget priorities for people with intellectual disabilities to influence how the Government spend the Budget and to try and make sure that the Government prioritise the rights of people with intellectual disabilities when they make decisions.

As part of our work for Budget 2023 you will find:

(click on the links to go directly to each piece of information)

 

Inclusion Ireland believes that people with intellectual disabilities should live self-determined lives and Budget 2023 provides an opportunity to invest in people. We are hopeful that 2023 will be the year of implementation of the various reports and strategies recently released, including the Cost of Disability in Ireland report and the Disability Capacity Review. Together, these reports detail for the first time the level of spending required to improve people’s financial situation and for disabled people to move from crisis to confidence about their futures.

In putting together this submission we consulted with people with intellectual disabilities and their families. We received 458 responses to our survey. We found that the most important issues faced by people were access to services, education, housing, poverty and the cost of disability.

The top 3 issues for people with intellectual disabilities themselves were:

  • Housing and community living 38%
  • Access to services 23%
  • Decision making 21%

 

For family members, the top three priority issues for budget 2023 are:

  • Access to services 50%
  • Poverty and cost of disability 27%
  • Education 17%.

 

This submission identifies 6 key action areas informed by our consultations and the relevant UNCRPD Articles. These are:

  1. Housing and community living
  2. Poverty and cost of disability
  3. Access to services
  4. Education
  5. Employment
  6. Decision making and access to information.

Inclusion Ireland calls for commitment from government to finally move on from institutionalisation for people with intellectual disabilities.

Inclusion Ireland as a national advocacy organisation calls for a commitment from the government to finally move on from institutionalisation for people with intellectual disabilities.

At Inclusion Ireland we are struck by the strong message in HIQA’s Disability Overview Report 2021 that life is better for people not living in group homes or larger settings.

We know there are still 2400 people living in group homes. We also know that 1300 people under the age of 65 are living in nursing homes. We need urgent action in Budget 2023 and a firm commitment from government to finally move on from institutionalisation in all its forms.

We know that living in a smaller home does not guarantee a good life on its own. Having choice and control about where you live, who you live with and how you live, with appropriate person centred supports is the only way forward to ensure people’s human rights are front and centre to live a truly meaningful and full life.

Derval McDonagh, CEO of Inclusion Ireland says “Government needs to figure out a way of stopping institutionalisation happening in the first place. This means having a multi annual plan for housing and supported living for disabled people. In this way supports can be planned over time with a focus on the persons rights, rather than reacting to crisis after crisis. Only dealing with crises leads to more institutionalisation.”

The Disability Capacity Review action plan needs to be published now. The thousands of people with Intellectual disabilities living at home with their families right now with no access to a plan around their future, need to see this plan. This will give some hope to people who are living with elderly family members while waiting for a home of their own and shift the emphasis from one of being cared for to a life of choice and control which every person deserves.

Offaly Disability Equality Network (ODEN) Accessible Offaly Survey

Offaly Disability Equality Network (ODEN) Accessible Offaly Survey – for adults with disabilities and long-lasting conditions living in Offaly.

Have Your Say.

ODEN is working to identify barriers to accessibility and inclusion in communities in Offaly.

ODEN is asking disabled people to tell us about your experience of access and being part of the community in Offaly. This survey should take about 8 – 10 minutes to complete. Some people may need help to complete the survey. Some people communicate differently.  If needed, please support a family member or person you support to complete the survey.

You can complete the survey at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6KT7FHF

Please share this survey with anyone you think may be interested.

You can read the Easy to Read Flyer here: ODEN Accessible Offaly Survey – Easy to read

Thank you for taking part.

Thank you for supporting people to take part.

 

Offaly Disability Equality Network (ODEN) Members:

Anam Beo, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, Employability Midlands, Epilepsy Ireland, An Garda Siochana, Inclusion Ireland, Independent Living Movement Ireland, Laois Offaly Education & Training Board, Muiriosa, MS Ireland, National Learning Network, Offaly Centre for Independent Living, Offaly Local Development Company, Offaly Public Participation Network, Rehabcare, Tullamore Chamber.

The ODEN Accessible Offaly Project is funded by Offaly County Council through the Disability Participation and Awareness Fund 2021.

Pre-Budget Survey 2023

Each Year the Government bring out a report they call the Budget.

The Budget tells us what the Government will spend money on for 2023.

We want to know what you think.

We want to know what is important to you.

This is our survey so you can tell us what you think.

Please fill this survey out by 20th June.

This is the link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SBLJQJ7

You can access an easy to read flyer about this budget survey here: Pre Budget Survey – Easy To Read

Thank you for taking part.

Beyond the basics – cleanliness should be a minimum standard we expect in residences.

We at Inclusion Ireland found the reporting of deplorable conditions in a centre for people with intellectual disabilities very difficult to read today. In case you missed it you can read the rte.ie report here.

https://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2022/0526/1301287-hiqa-investigation/

CEO of Inclusion Ireland Derval McDonagh says “We have to think about the individuals living in circumstances like this. We need to demand better for people, far beyond basics like cleanliness and safety. We must support people as rights holders to have choice and control about where and how they live and for people to have the support they need every single day to live a good life.

 Derval continues “Our watchdog of HIQA shouldn’t even have to consider elements such as a basically clean environment, that should be the absolute minimum we expect for people, no matter what setting they live in or how much support they require.”

“Of significant concern also was the voice of the resident who stated that they did not like living there as “their peer shouted a lot”. In no other walk of life would it be acceptable for people to be forced to stay living together if they were unhappy with their circumstances. It would be inconceivable for any of us to imagine having no choice about who we live with. We cannot ignore that voice. Where are the options for people to move out if they are unhappy and distressed? Ultimately, we need institutional type living to end and a shift to where rights are the basis for all support.”

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