Almost ten years ago, the Time to Move on from Congregated Settings Report identified approximately 4,000 people with disabilities living in congregated type settings. The 2011 Report expected that decongregation could happen at a much faster pace than was actually possible.
Since 2014, the Transforming Lives Programme provides the framework for implementation and for putting policy into practice across key reports, including Time to Move on from Congregated Settings in respect of residential centres,
Today less than 2,000 people live in congregated settings.
The Programme for Government – ‘Our Shared Future’ includes a commitment to continue with moving people out of old style congregated settings, into new homes within the community, with the necessary supports.
Today, people are being supported to live lives of their choice out in the community. Several congregated settings have closed fully and many more have closed specific units within the centres.
Thoughtful planning, capacity building work with stakeholders and sharing the learning across services is enabling meaningful person-centred planning and transitions that are sustainable.
While the pace of change has been slow in some services, there is momentum and progress is being made.
Budget 2021 provides for an unprecedented level of investment in disability services, with the investment of €100m for new initiatives in 2021. The increased level of funding in 2021 will enable us to build on initiatives currently underway, including the decongregation programme, with a renewed focus on assisting people to move out of congregated settings to homes in the community. The HSE has prioritised the transition of a further 144 people from congregated settings in 2021 under its Service Plan.
As the numbers in the large settings continues to fall, the people still remaining in these services have access to better living conditions and share with fewer people.
The position of the HSE is that it wishes to see all individuals supported to have the option of living independently in the community provided this is in their best interests and in partnership with their families. It is recognised that this will take time to put in place.
As the particular issue raised is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.