Down Syndrome Ireland welcome the launch of the Personalised Budgets Taskforce Report on Disability Services.
We have been campaigning for some time for supports for adults with Down syndrome to be person centred, and for personalised budgets to be made available to those people who want to manage their own supports. Down Syndrome Ireland have an established adult education programme and an evolving employment programme, and are ready to engage with the pilot projects.
We trust that the demonstration projects will begin in a timely manner, and that people on these projects can use the system to access Down Syndrome Ireland programmes if they choose, rather than being limited to programmes provided by HSE disability service providers.
It would be a great shame if the decision to start with demonstration projects results in a long delay for the many people who would like to take control of their budgets. We urge all people involved to ensure that this does not happen.
We are delighted to see that the demonstration projects will reﬂect ‘the challenges relating to rural areas and community inclusion’ and that in addition to gathering data on ‘information on the operational costs of a personalised budget’, data will also be gathered on user experience, improved quality of life outcomes and greater ﬂexibility.
We are closely monitoring this space, and trust that in time the availability of personalised budgets will not be limited by age, and will be used to respond creatively to the needs of children and adults outside of the current HSE model. The ratification of the UNCRPD requires us all to ensure that people with disabilities who require additional supports are facilitated to participate as fully as possible in mainstream society, and this is a step in the right direction.