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BCASW Calls on Government to Respect Court Ruling on Youth with Disabilities BC Association of Social Workers For Immediate Release December 21, 2006
The provincial government must create a new eligibility process for youth with lifelong disabilities, following BC Court of Appeal’s denial of government appeal of Fahlman v CLBC, says BC Association of Social Workers
The BC Association of Social Workers applauds the Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss the provincial government’s legal appeal of Judge Chamberlist's ruling, Fahlman v. CLBC. The government’s appeal represented a legal fight to deny services to people with a lifelong neurological disability. The appeal flew in the face of the evidence that had been presented to Judge Chamberlist, and contradicted the substantial expertise of professional social workers and others in the community living field.
The dismissal of the government's appeal is a major victory for every youth like Neil Fahlman, who qualified for supportive programs and services from Community Living BC, but upon turning 19 faced the immediate end of that support. It is also a victory for mothers like Fiona Gow and the parents she represented in her fight to have services in place for her son. The Appeal Court decision means that cutting off services to youth at age 19, who have a lifelong disability but whose IQ exceeds 70, is now legally invalid and must stop, says Linda Korbin, Executive Director of BCASW. BCASW child and family welfare spokesperson Paul Jenkinson says it is now time for government to take the misdirected energy it invested in a court appeal and put that expertise to work developing criteria for service, a bridge that will allow youth with lifelong neurological disorders to move confidently out of adolescence knowing that an adequate level of service and supports will be in place throughout their adult lives.
BCASW recommends that:
BCASW and social workers practicing at CLBC are carefully watching how this government will respond to the court’s denial of their appeal. BCASW encourages the government to move rapidly so that persons with these cognitive disabilities are able to more successfully engage in life. For more information please see the previous news item Adult Services from Community Living BC for People with Developmental Disabilities and IQs over 70