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From Presence to Citizenship: Algonquin College DSW

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From Presence to Citizenship: Algonquin College DSW

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From Presence to Citizenship: Algonquin College DSW

  1. 1. FROM PRESENCE TO CITIZENSHIP A two-year Ministry of Community and Social Services sponsored initiative to share best practices and success stories in the Developmental Services (DS) sector. Our objectives: 1. To support DS organizations who are making a person-centred shift, by providing them with best practices, success stories and practical tools to accelerate the transition. 2. To develop a permanent learning community where DS agencies can continue to share best practices and success stories so that we all continue to learn and improve our person-centred outcomes. 2015-2017 PARTNER AGENCIES • CL Upper Ottawa Valley • CL Atikokan • CL Thunder Bay • CL Algoma • CL Brant • CL St. Mary’s & Area • CL Ontario • Kenora Association for CL • LiveWorkPlay (Ottawa) • Mills Community Support (Almonte) • South-East Gray Support Services
  2. 2. The original notes to the first slide were particular to the live From Presence to Citizenship Learning Exchange, hosted at the Holiday Inn Toronto Airport on February 7-8, 2017. The event featured speakers Al Condeluci, David Pitonyak, Dr. Barry Isaacs, and Bruce Anderson, as well as leaders from participating agencies and the release of the From Presence to Citizenship video with commentary by videographer Bob Fleck. Christine Keupfer from the Ministry of Community and Social Services presented a unique social policy perspective. Keenan Wellar from LiveWorkPlay in Ottawa delivered this presentation to introduce the 300 attendees to the origins of the project.
  3. 3. The Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services Launched the provincial government’s social policy direction for the transformation of Developmental Services back in 2006 with the document “Opportunities and Action: Transforming Supports In Ontario For People Who Have A Developmental Disability.” The Minister of the day, Madeleine Meilleur, said the following: “Ontario is at a crossroads in the evolution of the way it supports people who have a developmental disability. As we prepare to move to a completely community-based approach…to support Ontarians who have a developmental disability to live as independently as possible and to participate in the life of the community.” More than ten years later we must admit that much of our work in Developmental Services fails to deliver assets-based, person-centred, community-focused processes and outcomes. Many of our assessment procedures and service approaches remain deficits-based, placing priority on what a person cannot do, rather than their strengths and opportunities. Significant investment in segregated and congregated group living and day activities continues. Developmental Services continues in many ways to work within the community, rather than as a part of the community.
  4. 4. In the early days of the transformation of Developmental Services much emphasis was placed on inspiration and motivation. We saw an explosion of gatherings where graphic facilitators brought individuals with disabilities, family members, and support professionals together to think about want people want out of life, and to consider what “inclusive communities” really means. It would have been rare to hear anyone speak up at one of these gatherings to present opposition to any of what was being discussed. And yet here we are in 2017, with a system that continues to be challenged by barriers to a modernized person-centred approach. We are not tracking or evaluating DS outcomes based on data or metrics that corresponds with our social policy promises.
  5. 5. DSO Health and Safety Contract Negotiations Family Expectations Vacancy Management Urgent Response ODSP CSPT Community Expectations Human Resources Funder Expectations QAM
  6. 6. To be fair, there have been a lot of distractions! This includes the reality that the resources available far exceed the demand for the services, as a provincial system as well as at the regional and agency level. Individuals and families waiting for service are frustrated. Leaders and front line staff of local agencies are frustrated. And yet we see throughout the province that in certain regions and at certain agencies, significant transformation is underway – although opportunities for Improvement never end, is never completed, in some cases service outputs and outcomes have been dramatically transformed - no group living, no segregated day activities, and people with intellectual disabilities enjoying homes of their own, jobs and other community engagement, and expanded relationships.
  7. 7. What is the key to their success? Without exception, they asked for – and accepted – help from others. Without exception, they provided help when asked. At LiveWorkPlay we reached out to Community Living Upper Ottawa Valley at the start of our own transformation process back in 2004. The key help they provided was to demonstrate their own success in bringing an end to day programs and sheltered workshops. LiveWorkPlay has worked to pay it forward over the years, spending time with other agencies such as Community Living Atikokan and Community Living Thunder Bay, and closer to home, enjoying frequent learning exchanges with Mills Community Support. We have also received delegations from across the United States and contributed to conferences and gatherings in a half dozen states. It is one thing to be challenged by the barriers to positive change, while it is quite another to refuse help that is available, or to simply refuse to seek out improvement. From Presence To Citizenship aims to be the start of a new province-wide network that eliminates the frustrations of re-inventing the wheel, and also removes the common excuses for continuing to pull a square-wheeled cart of outdated practices.
  8. 8. September 25, 2014
  9. 9. Where it began… Although there had been many years of conversations over email as well as at meetings and events, the origins of the From Presence To Citizenship project can be traced back to an impromptu gathering at the Community Living Ontario Annual Conference in 2014. Agency leaders who were engaging in significant transformation and fully invested in person-centred services and outcomes talked about the unique challenges to agency transformation and wondered how they might contribute to broader change.
  10. 10. April 20, 2016 April 14, 2015 The Learning Community for Person-Centred Practices Annual Gathering
  11. 11. Most of the organizations that came together for From Presence To Citizenship had previously attended the annual Person-Centred Gathering on multiple occasions. We all recognized that although the gatherings made for terrific “feel good” experiences they were not necessarily helping agency leaders and staff to overcome agency-based barriers. To this end we created our own opportunities – with the complete blessing of the gathering organizers – to propose the establishment of a learning community to not only espouse person-centred concepts, but to provide concrete answers to questions around agency transformation.
  12. 12. November 2016
  13. 13. In November 2016, project representatives were invited by MCSS to participate in regional presentations across the entire province. Project Chair Jim Turner from Community Living Atikokan travelled to all the regions, while other partners co-presented with Jim at locations in their own area (LiveWorkPlay contributed to day and evening sessions in Kingston and Ottawa). These sessions helped in making strong connections between MCSS social policy directives and the person-centred outcomes being delivered by the partner agencies of From Presence To Citizenship. Interactions with family members reinforced our belief that they are confused by the promise of Developmental Services which is not all that aligned with the actual practice of Developmental Services in many communities. While MCSS and the From Presence To Citizenship partners would talk about “an apartment, a job, and good friends” as some of the typical outcomes that DS agencies should be facilitating, family members were much more familiar with group homes, day programs, and segregated leisure activities as typical outcomes.
  14. 14. http://bzbz.ca/ontariocit-feb2017
  15. 15. As the project moved toward its conclusion in March 2017, the partners committed to three 2017 products: a project newsletter, a video, and a learning exchange. The newsletter and video are now circulating as a digital download and a YouTube video, and the sold out learning exchange on February 7-8 was met with overwhelmingly enthusiastic feedback.
  16. 16. http://ontariocit.tlcpcp.com
  17. 17. The project is not coming to an end. A new online community has been started where the entire proceedings from the learning exchange are already available, and additional resources are being added on a routine basis. A discussion forum is a core feature of the community, which will help connect agencies across Ontario for the exchange of knowledge as well as collective problem-solving.
  18. 18. http://bzbz.ca/ontariocitvideo
  19. 19. The video project was complicated by the challenges of time and geography. Videographer Bob Fleck travelled the province and attempted to capture the essence of the person-centred practices at each partner agency. Due to scheduling issues it was not always possible for each agency to tell their story with the involvement of supported individuals, so the video is a mixture of people with intellectual disabilities telling their own stories, as well as staff representatives talking about best practices. Out of hundreds of hours of footage, the task of selecting just one or two minutes from each partner and blending them into a reasonably coherent package was no simple endeavor. There is much that we like about our project outcomes, including the newsletter, learning exchange, and video, but we would look forward to doing even better with future efforts that will involve additional partners.
  20. 20. BONUS VIDEO: Phil’s Story That’s a great story and well told by United Way Ottawa, but I want to add some important context: Phil and his family had repeatedly been told that he could never live in a home of his own, and further, that he was unemployable. From his neighbours at the Beaver Barracks community on Catherine Street to his managers and co-workers at the East India Company restaurant, Phil now knows he is a valued and respected member of his community. There aren’t words to describe the dramatic differences in his quality of life. All we know is that we can help make it happen for many others. At least 100 in the coming year, but hundreds and thousands more in the years to come.
  21. 21. Transformation to person-centred, assets-based, community-focused practices is no longer just a vague idea, and it must become the reality for all MCSS funded services. Clearly, the days when this was more of a suggestion than an expectation are almost over. Agencies must adapt and adapt quickly if they are to remain relevant and viable, and those who contribute to educating and training the DS workforce must adapt with curricula and expectations that are ahead of the curve. We must challenge ourselves to ensure that we teach as well as put into practice outcomes that deliver on the promise of inclusion rather than maintain or reinforce the status quo of exclusion, segregation, and integration.

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