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Government promises fall short for Disabled People

MEDIA RELEASE

9 May 2007

Government promises fall short for Disabled People

The gap between the promise of the Government’s Disability Strategy and the reality of the lack of support in disabled peoples’ lives is widening, according to CCS.

Today the Social Services Select Committee begins hearing oral submissions into the inquiry it initiated after many reports of poor quality and unsafe services, disabled people with few friends or connections to family, young people living in rest homes, parents of young children over-stretched and unsupported, disabled mothers having babies taken off them at birth, deaths in services, and a system under-resourced and unsustainable.

“Disabled people can have as good a life as anyone else, just give us and our families the support” says Paul Gibson, CCS National Policy and Strategy Manager. “Today CCS asks the select committee to look beyond current service problems and envision communities where everyone is included, supported, and contributing. We need less assessment and more people who will walk alongside us as allies”.

“As the population needing disability support increases, we need to look to models of support that successfully both meet the needs and aspirations of disabled people of all ages and their families, and models that are sustainable and value for money from a government perspective” said Paul Gibson. “At the moment we have neither. All that stands in the way of a full public crisis is the goodwill and declining resources of the community organisations that support disabled people and that can’t last”.

“The select committee inquiry provides an opportunity to change the way we all see and support disabled people. The Mason Inquiry from 10 years ago detailed a path that has made a positive difference in the lives of people experiencing mental illness. A path including a media campaign similar to “Like Minds, Like Mine” is needed across the rest of disability support.

“We look forward to seeing a new sense of urgency and priority within government as a result of the select committee’s recommendations”, he said.

ENDS

CCS Background Information

CCS works in partnership with disabled people, their families and whanau to ensure equality of opportunity, quality of life and an environment that enhances full community integration and participation.

CCS exists to make a difference for disabled people, their families and whanau by removing barriers to inclusion and by offering support to disabled people to access all ordinary opportunities in their communities. Our community is made up of disabled people and their families and whanau, who live in Aotearoa New Zealand. We include all people who face barriers to inclusion on the basis of disability and who want to access the disability support services we provide.

Reflecting the commitment in the New Zealand Disability Strategy – Making A World of Difference Whakanui Oranga [Minister for Disability Issues April 2001], a key expectation of CCS work is that the New Zealand community grows its capacity to ensure that disabled people have the same rights, choices, opportunities and safeguards as other citizens.

CCS operates with a National Office and regional management structure, providing services nationally from 16 incorporated societies. We deliver regular services to over 6,000 people with disabilities making us one of the largest disability support service providers in New Zealand. CCS works closely with other disability agencies to ensure we make best use of shared knowledge and resources, helping us to adopt best practice across the sector.

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