A senior media advisor at the Ministry of Health has provided further information on the recent cuts to services supporting people in the ASD community.
According to the Ministry; an email sent by IDEA Services last week was confirmation that the provider would not be renewing the ASD contracts.
No one has said that IDEA Services won’t continue to provide any support for the ASD community, in this blog or otherwise. IHC New Zealand boss Ralph Jones said that the organisation will continue to advocate on behalf of all people with intellectual disabilities.
But the fact remains, IDEA Services won’t be running these popular services and the hundreds of families on waiting lists will have to stay in limbo.
For a long time now, people have struggled to take what the Government says regarding funding for disability support at face value. This latest example in terms of the apparent reduction in funding for ASD support services is the latest example.
After the email exchange between IDEA Services and the Ministry, a letter was sent out to people receiving support for ASD services. In that letter, IDEA Services gave this official statement:
“Unfortunately with the underfunding of over $500,000 in the 2016/2017 year and no offer of an increase for the coming year we cannot continue to provide the service”, IDEA Specialist Services General Manager said.
The Minister for Disability issues has said that funding isn’t being reduced, for IDEA Services or any other organisation. This is in direct contrast to what was claimed in the letter.
Costs for all organisations are on the rise and some have speculated that the $500,000 underfund for IDEA Services isn’t specific to ASD contracts. What IDEA Services are saying is that there has been insufficient funding to continue ASD support services moving forward.
Some members of the ASD community say that IDEA Services didn’t renew the contract with the Ministry of Health due to being underfunded as costs for services and programmes continue to rise. They also say that this was not a new problem either.
The mainstream media are currently working on this story.