The Alberta Association for Community Living (AACL) remains deeply opposed to institutionalization. Like most Albertans, tens of thousands of Alberta families with sons and daughters with developmental disabilities were looking forward to a new premier who promised a bold vision guided by an ethical and moral compass. Instead Premier Prentice’s first and only statement related to disability is to announce the institutionalization begun in the 1800’s, as represented by Michener Centre, will continue into the future.
Premier Prentice’s resounding silence on the aspirations and needs of the tens of thousands of Alberta families who have raised their sons and daughters at home and fought every day to give them a good life in community, echoes hauntingly and disappointedly across the province. Where is this Premier’s commitment to ensuring individuals with developmental disabilities and their families will have their choices for a meaningful life in community honoured, respected and funded?
Robin Acton, AACL President and the parent of an adult daughter with developmental disabilities stated, “The Premier’s decision to keep Michener open for those still there, is fundamentally frightening as it suggests the Premier does not see my daughter as a person first, with the same hopes and dreams for a life in community most other Albertans assume is their right. Yes, she needs support, but she is no less human because she happens to have a disability; she doesn’t belong in an institution, now or ever.”
All Albertans with developmental disabilities and their families required the ethical and moral leadership this Premier promised but now failed to offer. When will our voices be heard and the Premier commit to the needed changes to ensure every family and individual has ready access to the supports they require, every parent has the choice of a quality inclusive education, and every adult with developmental disabilities has the means to a home of their own in community and opportunities to continue their education or be employed as much as possible.
Bruce Uditsky, AACL CEO and the parent of an adult son with developmental disabilities, commented, “The government has committed, in writing, that Michener will not be accepting new admissions, as has been the case since 2001 and that it remains committed to community inclusion. However, as long as any institution exists it remains a future threat to any person with developmental disabilities or their family to whom government limits or denies needed community supports.”
AACL calls upon the Premier to demonstrate vision and leadership by spending time with us as families and individuals with developmental disabilities in our homes; and to commit unequivocally to ensuring needed supports and funding will be readily available to every family and person with developmental disabilities to live a good life in community.
About Alberta Association for Community Living:
AACL is a family-governed, registered charity supporting thousands of children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families across Alberta for nearly 60 years.
SOURCE Alberta Association for Community Living