Family-based inclusion group presenting their governance model to B.C.

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‘We love the flexibility this model provides,’ says family member
Tuesday May 8, 2012 — Michelle Strutzenberger

A family-based inclusion group is hoping to see its model spring up in other communities across British Columbia.

First created in Victoria, InclusionWorks is a group of eight families who have come together to advance the inclusion of their sons and daughters who have a developmental disability.

They have pooled whatever individualized funding they have between them, as well as other resources, flowing these through Community Living Victoria as their designated host agency.

They are using these combined resources to accomplish their inclusion mission.

At the heart of their work is helping their sons and daughters transition to adulthood in a way that sees them living as full, active citizens of society, outside of the more traditional day program or micro-board system. There is five-year cap on the length of this particular work, the vision being that by that time people will be well on their way to finding real places of belonging in the community.

“We love the flexibility this model provides,” says family member Eleanor Liddy.

“Family governance and pooling of resources lets each group design their own group to best meet their needs.”

For instance, family members and self-advocates are the final decision-makers on funding expenditures, Inclusion workers to hire and the future of the program.

Activities are as diverse as the personalities involved.

The initial group is excited to see a number of its youth graduate from an educational partnership with the South Island Distance Education School this June, and is planning a celebration of success.

Another current exciting activity for InclusionWorks is the engagement of three participants on a new web project where they are learning graphic and web design skills.

The formation of a third group around this model is just in the process of being created, with the first group mentoring the new families in setting up their own, unique group.

InclusionWorks was recently awarded $15,000 from the Community Living Innovation Venture to set up a multi-dimensional website, including a section for families who are interested in learning more about and adapting the InclusionWorks model. The goal is to go live with the site by fall 2012.

Arlene, the family representative, is happy to talk with anyone interested to learn about the model and how they might get involved. E-mail her at arlenezuck@gmail.com.

For a related story, click here.

Feel free to comment below, or e-mail michelle(at)axiomnews.ca.

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