Families across Ontario are asking for assistance in advocating for a service that they have been receiving for the past 4 years. Independent Facilitation is a service which matches individuals with developmental disabilities with a facilitator who is dedicated to helping them identify and carry out their dreams and goals for the future. Facilitators meet regularly with individuals and families and develop a relationship that can help them build towards a life of true citizenship and participation in the community.
Four years ago, the Ontario Liberal government initiated the "Independent Facilitation Demonstration Project" to measure the value of Independent Facilitation. Through this project, over 1200 families have accessed this service. For many, it is one of the few or even only services available to their families, as many recipients experience poverty or languish on long waitlists for agency-based services.
Independent Facilitation is more than support work – it involves planning, advocating, relationship building, and liaising. For families trying to do it all on their own, a Facilitator can connect them with resources, be a source of respite and relief, alleviate pressure, respond to crisis, and do it all while building a relationship with their loved one with a disability. A Facilitator is a third party, not affected by pressures of agency funding or outside interests – this is the person who is at the side of a vulnerable person for them, cheering them on, and building up their strength and options so that they and all around them can see possibility in the midst of challenge.
The current government has announced an end to this project, wrapping up the support offered to so many by the end of March 2019. For many, this represents cutting a lifeline where no other exists. Arising to advocate for continued funding is the Independent Facilitation Matters Coalition. This combination of individuals with disabilities, caregivers, family members, friends and Facilitators seeks to challenge the decision to cut the project and demonstrate how truly meaningful Facilitation can be for those it serves.
Please consider their letter below, and signing the petition to save Independent Facilitation in Ontario.
Dear Friends, Partners and Allies,
The Independent Facilitation Matters Coalition is made up of people with developmental disabilities, their family members and loved ones, and other allies who believe that Independent Facilitation makes a difference in the lives of people and families and should continue to be available and funded in Ontario.
But we need your help to do that today. We're asking you to visit our website here, sign up for our newsletter, and submit a story of your own.
You can also:
Here's one more action you can take right now – sharing your written testimonial about why independent facilitation matters to you.
Please share this information with your networks, so that as many people, loved ones, and allies who are interested in Independent Facilitation can join in and support the Coalition. We want the Ministry to see strong, large numbers of people who care about this!
The Independent Facilitation Matters Coalition