In view of the federal government’s new “National Children’s Agenda,” the institute has focused significant attention on issues affecting children with disabilities and their families. An aim has been to help ensure that children with disabilities and their families benefit from any new policy measures put in place by federal or provincial/territorial governments.
Soon to be released in our Children and Family series are four new publications. Based on in-depth interviews, Beyond the Limits: Mothers Caring for Children with Disabilities examines the issues faced by mothers in five provinces in caring for their children and accessing the supports their families require.
Finding a Way In: Parents on Social Assistance Caring for Children with Disabilities examines the realities of life on social assistance in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta among parents caring for children with disabilities and trying to get paid work. It includes a review of social assistance and child care policies, providing some update to an earlier Institute study (Right off the Bat: A Study of Inclusive Child Care in Canada).
When Kids Belong: Supporting Children with Complex Medical Needs — at Home and in the Community draws from our extensive literature review, focus groups and interviews with physicians, other health professionals, parents and hospital-based social workers. It examines planning supports needed so that children with complex health needs can move from care in hospital to home with their families with adequate community support.
Count Us In: Demographic Overview of Childhood and Disability provides a snapshot of the numbers of children with disabilities, their household, social and economic characteristics, and the scale of issues their families face.
These publications complement studies released some months ago, which were previously featured in ABILITIES (i.e., Supported Health Planning — A Model; Labour Force Inclusion of Parents Caring for Children with Disabilities; and A Guide for Employers).
The Roeher Institute has been channelling energies into other fields as well. Our newly released Literacy, Disability and Communication: Making the Connection challenges a re-thinking of traditional notions of literacy in terms of a much broader right to communication. It looks at implications for public policy, community services and literacy programs. Towards Inclusion lays out a coherent approach to thinking about issues of community inclusion at the individual, community and systems level. It reports on factors that affect the successful transition of people from institutions to life in the community as valued equals. It is based on an in-depth, four-year study of deinstitutionalization in six provinces. Our recently completed Genomes and Justice looks at the implications of new genetic technologies for people with disabilities. It advances ethical principles to ensure that health-care decision making will be properly informed and will uphold respect for diversity and non-discrimination.
On the employment front, we completed a study to assist a local training board in Ontario to plan its labour market services with regards to issues of disability, continued with an employment-policy and program scan in all provinces and territories, and developed a method for assessing the coordination of measures across departments and jurisdictions to increase the employment of people with disabilities.
In our social development program, the institute completed a major project with a partner agency (Education Wife Assault) to help increase the responsiveness of Ontario’s new Domestic Violence Courts to issues of family violence and disability. The institute’s Information Services fielded thousands of enquiries, nationally and internationally — from people with disabilities, family members, community agencies, advocates, businesses, students, academics, policy experts and government officials.
In all of this, The Roeher Institute has sought to provide timely information, solid analysis and practical, achievable policy and program options. We’ve taken new measures to work collaboratively with other organizations and have been developing new formats which we believe will make our work more accessible to lay readers.
So, this has been a busy, challenging and highly productive period for the institute. And we have many interesting projects on the go. Stay tuned for more…
Cameron Crawford is Acting President of The Roeher Institute. For more information, call (416) 661-9611; fax: (416) 661-5701; or e-mail: email@example.com.