Who Are We?
Deinstitutionalization is a priority for the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living (SACL), as all individuals, regardless of the level of their disability, can be and have the right to be included in society. With the proper accommodations, every citizen is capable of living a successful life in a home of their own.
This year, SACL partnered with People First of Saskatchewan to create the Deinstitutionalization Coalition of Saskatchewan (DCS). As founding members of the coalition, we are in the process of recruiting other organizations that are also concerned with the continued existence of institutions in our province and who are willing to commit to advocating for alternatives.
The DCS is a member of the People First of Canada/Canadian Association for Community Living National Task Force on Deinstitutionalization
. As a coalition, we have adopted the PFC/CACL Task Force definition of an institution, including large and small facilities that are institutional in practice. The definition is as follows: "An institution is any place in which people who have been labeled as having an intellectual disability are isolated, segregated and/or congregated. An institution is any place in which people do not have, or are not allowed to exercise, control over their lives and their day to day decisions. An institution is not defined merely by its size." - People First - CACL Task Force
We have developed goals and objectives for the year, which will include drawing attention to the gaps in services and advocating for funded, appropriate community supports as an alternative to institutionalization.
The DCS wants to educate the public that there are still people with intellectual disabilities housed in institutions in 2006. As John O’Brien has pointed out, 1972 marked the year that the argument could no longer be made that institutionalization was necessary. In that year, in every single case where it was argued that a particular person could not function or be supported in the community, and therefore must remain in an institution, advocates could point to a person with parallel complex, high needs living successfully in the community. Yet, 34 years later, institutions are still open.
While the movement towards community living began in the 1970s and was revitalized in the 1990's through the closure of the North Park Centre in Prince Albert, we still have a long way to go in Saskatchewan. The driving force behind the DCS is to ensure that those Saskatchewan
citizens who have been left behind, forgotten in institutions and whose human rights continue to be violated, have the opportunity to live supported in the community. Our Vision
DCS Vision: That all individuals will live in the community with the supports they need and the quality of life that they desire.
: On behalf of individuals who have an intellectual disability and who live in institutions, we will facilitate and ensure that they have access to a life in the community where they can exercise control over their lives
. Our Goals
1) Develop a strategy to influence government and public policy and opinion
2) In 2006 the government invites SACL to be part of the planning of moving people out of institutions
3) Valley View Centre will be closed by 2010
4) By 2013, reduce by 50% the number of people living in other institutional settings