The PDD Review panel has now posted its online survey at https://extranet.gov.ab.ca/opinio6/s?s=41909 and will accept responses until December 7. We urge ADWA members and others to complete the survey, send a written or video submission to firstname.lastname@example.org and/or participate in a community conversation. Meeting times and locations are also listed on the PDD Review website at https://extranet.gov.ab.ca/opinio6/s?s=41909. ADWA board members have already started to attend these community conversations and will provide written input based on what you have told us. While we encourage you to share your experiences, we also developed some key points you may find useful.
Eligibility. We believe that those who would benefit from the services that disability workers typically provide should have access to those services, not just those with IQs under 70. Further, each individual benefits from some 1-to-1 time on their specific goals, regardless of the number in their service setting.
Accessing help when needed. The ability to get help quickly is affected by the capacity of the system to attract more workers, which is a challenge given low wage levels. The PDD planning process does not identify the best way to support individuals, and services are inadequately compensated for this planning process. The system is also slow to respond to requests for more funding when individuals have age-related declines or mental health crises. Reviews for common types of requests should be streamlined.
Effective service delivery system. Fear of reduced service funding creates stress for individuals and services alike. Addressing the consequences of these fears takes time away from creating a better life. Administrative requirements (AKA paperwork) are inadequately funded and must either take time away from direct service or be completed on unpaid time. Many other costs of providing service are also unfunded or underfunded, such as indirect services like community development work on behalf of individuals and seeking answers from other professionals to provide effective support. True costs of increases in minimum wage and rates for work on statutory holidays are not reflected in current contracts.
Skilled workforce. Our workforce strongly values education and training, but options are very limited and not affordable given current low wage rates and contract amounts. More documentation is a high-cost substitute for training. Most training does not include an element of assessment; ADWA certification fills this gap and measures the knowledge and skills that the field and self-advocates say is most important. Turnover profoundly affects both service providers’ recruitment/training costs and the ability of individuals to reach their desired goals and feel secure in their life.
Working together. Individual service plan outcomes often reflect the needs of the PDD program more than the desires or goals of individuals. Funding does not cover the true costs of community inclusion, such as transportation and event/meal costs for accompanying workers when needed for the individual to attend. Such costs are a burden for individuals living on AISH and other low incomes. Government information is often too long and may appear threatening to those who do not have the skill to interpret it.
Click here for a more detailed description of the PDD Review questions and ADWA’s key messages.