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Celebration of the three year trial for Choice in Community

Hon Tariana Turia
Minister for Disability Issues

29 November 2012 Speech
Taikura Trust
Celebration of the three year trial for Choice in Community Living
Thursday 29 November 2012; 3pm
Hotel Grand Chancellor, Auckland Airport

I am so pleased to be able to join with you today, in launching the Choice in Community Living Trial.

I always like coming here to Taikura Trust. Your mission – valuing difference and supporting inclusion – is one that is dear to my heart.

I have to admit that placing the people first – as your website so proudly promotes – is something that I believe is critical right across all of my portfolios.

But in the disability sector in particular, I want to see support provided and opportunities considered that result in in positive and enduring change for people with disabilities.

Building capacity and capability amongst providers is important, but only as a means to an end – the most important thing that we can do as providers, as politicians, as agency representatives is to support the people we work with to be in charge and have control over their own journeys.

In adopting this approach, and as the Minister for Disability Issues, I decided the best people to tell us about the aspirations of disabled people, were disabled people, their whānau and supporters. In their own words, and through their own experiences.

As a result of this thinking, we established an independent working group of disability sector representatives to think about what daytime supports the Government should be providing to disabled people if they are not working.

Their report, entitled Enabling Good Lives, proposes moving to a facilitation-based support model built around individuals’ needs and aspirations, rather than a one-size-fits-all universal approach.

The report described the essential elements of a facilitation-based support model as being self-directed planning and facilitation; individualised funding; strengthening families and community building.

The independent working group went further to suggest that disabled people want supports that:
• are self-directed and give them choice and control over their lives
• take a whole-of-life approach, rather than have their supports split between different programmes
• support them to live an everyday life in everyday places
• are mana enhancing
• build and strengthen relationships between disabled people, their whānau and their community

This is a really clear and strong statement of the change that I know can build relationships between disabled peoples and their communities; it can create possibilities for our future; it is about the promise of a tomorrow that each and every one of us want to be part of.

Taikura Trust has chosen to be part of the change, it’s a new initiative and an opportunity to think differently and to listen to the voice of disabled people and their families – and from what I can see today, you are going for it – which is exactly the type of attitude I have come to know from.

You are paving the way in providing disabled people with the opportunity to devise the plans that will best meet their aspirations. It is all about attitude – the attitude that enables disabled persons to plan, select, determine and have a voice in their own lives. In this respect, there is a reflection by Helen Keller which I found particularly illuminating:

no pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit."

There is no place for pessimism – what we need is to focus on the possibilities and the potential – the power of placing disabled persons in the centre of their own development and supporting them to achieve that.
And I want to just talk about our intentions behind this Choice in Community Living which Taikura Trust will be engaged in over the next three years.

Choice in Community Living is focused on supporting people who would otherwise be in residential services to live in a home they rent or own in their own right.

Ensuring the person holds a tenancy (where they are renting) is an important step in empowering them to take control of their disability support arrangements.

This is about doing it yourselves – not being done to, or done for.

In practice, Choice in Community Living will involve providers supporting disabled people and their whānau to develop and implement support arrangements based on the person’s goals and aspirations.

It sounds so simple – and so it should be.

But in many respects it is revolutionary – in the sense of completely turning things around.

For Choice in Community Living shifts the requirement from the person having to change to fit the service to the service having to change to fit the person.

It is not just about people using the funding available from the Ministry of Health creatively, it also about looking at how family and whānau, community resources, and community networks contribute to the person’s life and how the funding available can enhance this.

The Ministry of Health has identified seven providers who will help us develop and evaluate Choice in Community Living – and you are an important part of this journey; a vital component of the pathway to our future.

Finally, I want to just confirm that your role as part of this community is critical.
Making the right decisions, finding effective solutions and delivering better outcomes requires partnerships and proactive action which will bring certainty to the lives of the people you support.

What you are doing in taking up the Choice in Community Living Programme is bold, it is brave, but it also builds on your own experience. The best way to achieve change is knowing what has worked in the past and building on that through the ideas and vision of the people at the centre of this community.

Ultimately I have a vision that every person with a disability has the best opportunity to participate and to experience the richness of life.

I wish you all the very best success in supporting disabled persons to benefit from life-changing experiences of increased skills; self-confidence and joy; to participate in the sharing of gifts and friendships; and to live the very best life that they can.

Tēnā tātou katoa.

ENDS

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