Inclusion Ireland has criticised the Government’s plans to exclude children from key disability reform called ‘personalised budgets’ and has called for an immediate reversal of the proposal.
A personalised budget is an amount allocated to a person to cover the cost of providing their care and support needs following an assessment of need or personalised planning process. The aim of a personalised budget is to allow a person and their family to decide what services and supports that individual receives, and who provides those services and supports.
Personalised budgets, when implemented, will ensure that people with disabilities have choice and control over how money allocated for health or social care services is spent. The exclusion of children flies in the face of commitments made by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris and is not in line with the Programme for Partnership Government.
The call comes as Minister for Disability Issues Finian McGrath prepares to sign off on the report of the ‘Taskforce on Personalised Budgets’, which deliberated for 18 months on the proposals and plans pilot projects for adults as the next phase of the introduction of personalised budgets.
Pilot or “demonstration projects” will commence during the forthcoming period which will assess how personalised budgets work in a practical sense. Conducting these projects without the inclusion of children will mean that no data will be collected on how the programme might work with younger people in Ireland, potentially preventing under 18s from accessing personalised budgets for years to come.
Inclusion Ireland CEO Paddy Connolly said, “The Department of Health & Department of Public Expenditure & Reform have won the day with this decision. Inclusion Ireland was part of the Taskforce and no justification was made for the exclusion of children. In fact, all of the evidence brought forward indicated that most countries have no lower age limit at all.”
Calling on Minister McGrath to reverse the proposal in the Taskforce report, Mr. Connolly continued, “It will be a major failing of Minister McGrath if he does not intervene. Having a Minister for Disability Issues should ensure that people with disabilities are not whitewashed out of policy. Sadly, this will not be the case if the Taskforce’s proposals are meekly accepted by the Minister”.
About Inclusion Ireland
Inclusion Ireland is a national rights-based advocacy organisation that works to promote the rights of people with an intellectual disability. The advocacy organisation provides a central forum to identify priorities and formulate nationally agreed policies to present to government, statutory bodies, other relevant groups as well as the general public. Inclusion Ireland campaigns for changes in services and legislation that will improve the quality of life and participation of people with an intellectual disability in Irish society in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
About the Task Force on Personalised Budgets
The Programme for Government provided a commitment to the establishment of a Task Force on Personalised Budgets. The Task Force on Personalised Budgets was established by the Minister of State for Disabilities Finian McGrath TD on 20 September, 2016. The Task Force comprises of a Strategy Group and an Advisory & Consultative Group. Its 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.