I read with concern your July 29 story “Special needs kids face gap in Cowichan”. Thank you for highlighting the issue of the transition families go through after graduation. Families rightly want a positive future for their loved ones. Community Living BC (CLBC) is the government agency with a mandate to support individuals with developmental disabilities after they turn 19.
The story highlights well that sometimes it takes time to find the right services to help a person become as independent as possible in their community.
But I want to respond to the concern that families have nowhere to go.
Any family with questions or concerns should reach out to their local CLBC staff after their loved ones turn 16. It is important to begin the planning process as early as possible. There are a range of programs and agencies in the Cowichan Valley area that provide support services, and today CLBC funds services for more than 320 individuals in these programs.
The story also mentioned a local business proposal made to CLBC. While it is not within our mandate to provide start-up funding for business ideas, we encourage local investors to support such efforts.
In fact, a key way for individuals and families to achieve as much independence as possible, and for communities to become as inclusive as possible, is for local employers to create jobs for people with diverse abilities. I also call on employers and area groups to support a vision of full inclusion for all.
CEO, Community Living BC