Nothing About Us Without Us
Today, the government announced the creation of a Ministry for Disabled People and the national expansion of the Enabling Good Lives (EGL) approach. For nearly a decade the Enabling Good Lives approach has been successfully trialled in three locations. Finally, there has been a response to the voices of disabled people and their whānau. There are now opportunities for disabled people and their whānau who previously have been required to contort themselves to fit a complex, siloed and rigid system. The word "emancipation" has been used to describe what is now unfolding.
A mother, of a young woman with significant impairments, who has experienced the EGL approach stated today, " The EGL approach can be liberating and we have been working towards change for many years. The EGL approach can create opportunities where we can use our learning. Change can be led by people who have the knowledge and understanding of ‘what can be’’’
SAMS (Standards and Monitoring Services) and Care Matters are both national networks governed by disabled people and whānau members. Both networks see this as the culmination of well over a decade’s work. The CEO for SAMS stated, " There is now an opportunity for disabled people and whānau to lead the further development of approaches that will make it easier for them to experience the lives they choose. Building a new Ministry does not immediately fix everything. However, it opens the door for new ways of doing things".
Enabling Good Lives (EGL) was initially developed in 2012 by a group of leaders in the disability community. As a principles-based approach, EGL emphasises the centrality of disabled people having control of their lives and the importance of a partnership approach. In 2016, an evaluation of EGL in the Waikato documented that "97% (n=31) felt what they have achieved would not have been possible without EGL Waikato”. In 2019, an evaluation stated, “the EGL Waikato Demonstration has successfully contributed to 91% of participants achieving at least half or more of their desired outcomes, through enabling self-determination, choice and control over their lives.”
The Development Manager for Care Matters stated, "families will now be able to focus and plan for what a good life looks like and get the supports we need without all of the red tape. This will create equity for whānau around New Zealand. This is a new era". With the changes announced today, there will be the opportunity for disabled people and whānau throughout New Zealand to experience increased flexibility and the ability to influence the development of a new Ministry. Now there is an opportunity to bring life to the mantra “Nothing about us without us”.