Camphill family group feels “disappointed” by notice of closure

The Camphill Family and Friends Association has expressed outrage over news that HIQA has issued a Operation Cancellation Notice at the Duffcarrig Center citing issues with standards of practice.

The group spokesperson called the situation “very tragic” for the 24 adults with intellectual disabilities being cared for by staff at the center, adding that they believe Camphill’s board should resign.

Earlier this year, the Association of Families and Friends also showed support for the centre’s SIPTU staff involved in industrial action. It is understood that the mediation process regarding this matter is ongoing.

A spokesperson for the association said the group was deeply shocked and saddened to learn that Camphill Duffcarrig will no longer exist.

“We would like to express our deep concern about the impact on our loved ones with intellectual disabilities, because once again people with intellectual disabilities are being abandoned in this country.

“The homes and community of 24 disabled citizens are being dismantled, and community members who depend on the state and society for their protection and safety face damage to their well-being and personality, the destruction of their sense of belonging, their sense of belonging and the removal of control over their own lives. ‘

The spokesperson added that these feelings of loss come after a 15-month period of isolation, where residents were separated from friends and family due to Covid-19.

“Now, as we welcome the opening of society and our return to normalcy, the lives of these citizens are torn apart.

“When Camphill was created it was a time in Ireland when people with disabilities were treated as second class citizens dependent on family care or confined to institutions – out of sight. Camphill arrived in Ireland and proposed a new vision that challenged the treatment of people with intellectual disabilities as a forgettable minority. It was a vision with values ​​that the company is only catching up on now.

“This has provided a golden opportunity for our family members, many of whom have made their home here for decades. They could now live their own lives, make new friendships outside of their families and realize their potential. It offered a community life based on reciprocal relationships where disabled and non-disabled people lived and worked together on an equal footing in enriching sustainable environments ”.

The spokesperson said the group felt that ideal vision had been lost over the past five years, switching to a more centralized generic model in order to comply with regulations.

“This has failed a lot of members of our community. We recognize the hard work that HIQA has done to keep our loved ones safe and we fully accept that a number of safety issues that have arisen in the Duffcarrig community have not been addressed. We feel devastated and betrayed by all who allowed such problems to occur.

The spokesperson said that more and more families of people with disabilities feel left out as “the most important advocates” of these people.

“We, the families, are determined to protect the home and community of our loved ones and to see their homes and community safe in the future.

“Being safe also requires a person to feel safe. Feeling safe comes from a sense of belonging and desire and where, as a full citizen, one’s contribution is valued. It comes from a feeling of control over one’s life and being the most important voice in decision-making. It requires a sense of belonging and trust in the people with whom this house is shared and in those who make the rules. It means waking up in the morning not being afraid of what that day will bring and whether other people will decide that your house will no longer be your home.

The spokesperson said that their relatives are denied this sense of security because the certainties are “stripped” from them.

“Bureaucratization and centralization of social care destroys the control and personal autonomy of our family members over their own lives. ”

The spokesperson for the family group said the “generic healthcare model” adopted at Duffcarrig turned those receiving care into passive actors in the process.

“It takes people with disabilities even further away from their role as active decision-makers in their own lives. “

The spokesperson said the group is calling on the government, HSE and Camphill’s board to meet their commitments.

“We call on Minister Anne Rabbitte to immediately reassure our family members in Duffcarrig that their homes are secure now and in the future. We call on the Minister to ensure that adequate funding is provided to ensure that our loved ones can fully live their lives where they can contribute equally to society. We call on the Minister to learn from the incremental and community-based innovations that have flowed from Camphill’s values ​​and that thrive and add tremendous value and participatory engagement in the arts, culture and housing.

“We ask the Minister to look beyond the medical model of care that isolates our communities so that they can evolve and prosper and continue to be the seed of the social renewal that our founders envisioned.”

High staff turnover at Duffcarrig – something staff members alluded to on pickets outside the center earlier this year – has also added to residents’ sense of isolation and anxiety, according to the group. family.

The spokesperson said families believe there have been violations of a number of guiding principles of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – primarily the principle of participation, which allows people with disabilities to be included. in decisions that impact their lives.

According to the group: “Community members had no part in the decision-making that ultimately led to Duffcarrig’s registration being struck off.

“Community members and their advocates have not been provided with accessible information that allows them to be aware of and contribute to the decisions that have had such a profound impact on their lives.

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