Charity Responds To Community Movement By Making Major Shift Toward
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 3, 2005
LONDON, ENGLAND--The British charity and service provider Scope last week announced a major shift in how it provides those services to adults and children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.
According to a Scope press statement dated February 25, the organization has recognized that providing specialized, segregated residential and education services is no longer consistent with its mission of helping people achieve social equality.
"We believe that disabled children and adults should be equal, able to achieve their potential and lead fulfilling lives," said Scope chief executive Tony Manwaring. "To achieve this, we are changing our focus from providing institutional education and adult living services to providing support for people to live and go to school as part of the wider community."
Scope, which has provided such services to people with cerebral palsy for the last 50 years, also announced that it would no longer subsidize the "real cost" of providing services. That move was prompted in part by dwindling finances.
Manwaring told the Guardian that he expects most of the 500 adults in specialized residential programs to be moved into the community over the next 10 years. How fast the 300 children served by the charity are moved into mainstream schools will depend in part on how quickly education authorities can come up with the needed supports, he said.
The transition is set to begin right away. Manwaring announced the closure of a school for 11 children in Plymouth, England, and a residential unit housing 11 adults in Cardiff, Wales.
In the last several years, disability rights advocates have criticized Scope for segregating the same people for whom it says it advocates.
This week, campaigners for keeping the Cardiff unit open condemned Scope's decision to close it.
"The charity is turning away from its traditional role of actively caring for disabled people, towards a less effective role of passively campaigning on their behalf," the Guardian quoted them as saying. "We believe that many of the staff at Scope would be in direct opposition to the change in policy if they knew what misery was being caused in their names."
The charity responded that it is committed to working with local authorities to make sure the children and adults have the supports they need in their schools and communities.