Rehab, one of the country’s largest charities for people with disabilities, believes the government should introduce personalised budgets for people with disabilities, but must listen to the experiences of others
Personalised funding and budgets will give people with disabilities more control in accessing services, putting them in control of how money should be spent on their individual needs.
Rehab today (October 6th) hosted a seminar in Roslyn Park on the topic with US Professor Kevin Mahoney, from the Boston College School of Social Work.
Prof Mahoney is Director of the National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services in Boston. Over his 30 year career he has held senior policy positions throughout the United States and has carried out extensive research into how best to support people with disabilities to lead the supports they need in their lives. At the seminar, he spoke about his experiences of personalised budgets in the USA.
The event was engaging and constructive, with representatives from disability organisations, the HSE, and other organisations using the opportunity to develop ideas on how the government can improve the lives of people with disabilities.
Mr Christy Lynch, who was appointed as the head of the government Task Force on personalised budgets by Minister for Disabilities Finian McGrath TD, also attended the Rehab seminar.
The Task Force will make recommendations on a personalised budget model to give people with disabilities more control in accessing services, giving them greater independence and choice.
Prof Mahoney, who had several recommendations on personalised budgets for the Irish government, said: “The government needs to involve participants and seek the views of people with disabilities. I recommend that people with disabilities are involved in the entire process, from the design and implementation stage, to the evaluation of the scheme. It is important their voices are heard.”
Mo Flynn, CEO of Rehab, said: “Personalised budgets have the potential to transform people’s lives, making them more independent by giving them more choice and control over the support they receive. Rehab is delighted the government is taking a proactive approach to this issue. We look forward to engaging with the Task Force and other stakeholders to identify the best approach to personalised budgets for Ireland and people with disabilities. It is important that it is implemented in the right way. That was the purpose of today’s seminar at Rehab, to ensure we hear the experiences of experts around the world who have witnessed how individualised budgets have impacted people’s lives.”
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Minister of State for Disabilities, Finian McGrath T.D, established a task force on personalised budgets earlier this year.
Mr Christy Lynch, CEO of KARE, was appointed as the head of the task force in July 2016.
The Task Force’s remit is to make recommendations on a personalised budgets model which will give people with disabilities more control in accessing health-funded personal social services, giving them greater independence and choice in accessing services which best meet their individual needs.
Rehab is a charity that champions the value of diversity and inclusion for people with a disability or disadvantage in their communities. Our mission is to help the people we serve to be more independent and to contribute to and be more included in their communities; empowering them with the skills and confidence to be active in the workforce, and supporting them to be in charge of their health and wellness. Over 20,000 people use Rehab's services - children and adults with disability, people on the autism spectrum, people with mental health difficulties and people who are disadvantaged in some way in the labour market. More than 3,200 employees deliver Rehab's services in over 170 locations in Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales and Poland.