Thursday, March 9, 2017

De-institutionalization of people with disabilities: here's something we can do

Israeli cabinet meeting, January 2017 [Representative Image]
Israel's Ministerial Committee on Legislation will vote next week on a bill granting people with disabilities the right to choose their place of residence. The bill also ensures they will receive all requisite supportive services at the home of their choice.

The enactment of this bill is long overdue and is a basic element of equal rights for citizens with disabilities.

In the current situation, people with disabilities only enjoy those services and therapies if they - or their guardians - agree to their being locked up in an institution or hostel.

Just imagine how you would feel if our government dictated where - in fact in which specific building - you are permitted to live? And then imagine that you forfeit all of your government entitlements if you chose to disregard that order.

Doesn't sound remotely democratic, does it?

Well, that is the reality for thousands of people with disabilities, including our daughter Chaya whom we have chosen to keep at home with us and near to the rest of her family. As a result of our choice, Chaya does not receive the government funds for therapies and equipment that a child like her residing in an institution receives. (Those funds are channeled to those institutions; whether or not they actually provide those therapies is another matter.)

If your child is in this situation or if, as a professional, you know such children, Bizchut urges you to write to any or all of the Ministers on that committee. Their names and email addresses are listed below as is an outline of the sort of letter that Bizchut believes would be effective. I have translated that to English. Just fill in the details about the child you know and send it off in the language you prefer.

Draft Letter:

1. שם ההורה ושם הילד - Names of the child and his/her parents
2. המוגבלות של הילד - Description of the child's disabilities
3. הצורך בשירותים של דיור ושירותים תומכי דיור עבור הילד - The child's need for living arrangements and supportive services
4. מה שקיים כיום לא מספק, ולכן הבן/בת שלי לא מקבלים שירות מספק - The current government assistance falls short of providing this child with the necessary services
5. הדאגה לעתיד הילד והצורך בפתרון - Concern for the child's future and the need for a solution
6. הפתרון הוא בצורת פרק דיור בקהילה  וסיוע אישי בחוק שוויון זכויות לאנשים עם מוגבלות - The solution is in the section about in-community living of the Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities Law, 5758-1998
7. הצעת החוק תעלה לדיון בוועדת שרים לענייני חקיקה בשבוע הבא, ואני כהורה מבקש ממך מאוד לתמוך בה ולא לסתום את הגולל על הסיכוי של הילד שלי לקבל שירות מכבד ומותאם לצרכים שלו - The bill will be discussed in the Ministerial Committee for Legislative Matters next week and I, as a parent, implore you to support it and not to end my child's chances to receive services that are honorable and appropriate for his/her needs.
האימיילים של השרים בוועדת שרים לחקיקה
Email addresses of relevant Ministers

חיים כץ, רווחה -
יעקב ליצמן, בריאות -
משה כחלון, אוצר -
יואב גלנט, שיכון -
איילת שקד, משפטים -
יריב לוין - תיירות -
דוד אזולאי, שירותי דת -
גילה גמליאל, שוויון חברתי -
מירי רגב, תרבות וספורט -
זאב אלקין, הגנת הסביבה -
יובל שטייניץ, תשתיות -
סופה לנדבר, עליה וקליטה -

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