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Coming Home Final 600 x 600

Ground Hog Day

Social care is filled with fine people with good intentions. Sometimes, bad outcomes occur because we repeat the same patterns of behaviour, often calling it by a different name, but nothing really changes.  

The people most affected by these repeated efforts that fail to make progress are often those furthest away from the levers of power and whose voices are seldom heard. Also those who know, love and champion for them but who face monumental battles with a system that wears them down. 

C-Change was a signatory to a response to the Coming Home Implementation Report Submission in response to the Coming Home Implementation Report 2022 – C-Change that falls into this category.  The plan outlines how the Scottish Government seeks to address the human rights scandal of 700+ learning disabled and/or autistic people residing in out of area placements and Assessment and Treatment Units.  

The report uses the language of human rights but failed to involve disabled people and their families in designing the solution. It treated this group of people as though they were other than us. It did not afford them the opportunity to use Self Directed Support, the policy designed to ensure choice and control on the part of those who draw on social care.  

It repeats tried, tested, and failed systems solutions to systems problems used elsewhere in the United Kingdom. 

It is possible to do better. Respecting, protecting, and upholding individuals’ human rights is a starting point. Using the UNCRPD and the definition of Independent Living (Article19) as the guide would, at the very least, ensure that learning disabled and/or autistic people have a choice over where they live, and who they live with, if anyone.  

If the system is the problem the answer is unlikely to be one that the system designs, certainly without significant input from those who are affected by its actions. The tragic story of Tony Hickmott Tony Hickmott: Autistic man to be released after 21 years in hospital – BBC News illustrates the leverage needed to bring about change. It is also a telling example of the challenge families face fighting for their loved ones.   

Better is possible, but not if we keep doing the same as we have always done. 

Progress is not possible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. 

– George Bernard Shaw 

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