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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2008): Mental health services - overseas

Community reintegration for people with psychiatric disabilities: challenging systemic barriers to service provision and public policy through participatory action research

M. Mirza and others

Disability and Society, vol. 23, 2008, p. 323-336

Many of the 485,000 adults with a psychiatric disability in Illinois live in nursing homes when they would prefer to reside in community-based settings of their choice. In response to the expressed desire of people with disabilities to live in the community, two Centers for Independent Living (CILs) in Illinois have been implementing programmes that provide support for physically disabled people to leave their institutions and move to community-based settings. These initiatives are funded through the Medicaid waiver programmes, involving state and federal matching funds. However, people with psychiatric disabilities are ineligible for similar funding in Illinois under the Social Security Act. This funding issue, coupled with a growing demand for transitional support , prompted the two CILs to join with the authors in a participatory research project which explored the experiences of people with psychiatric disabilities as they attempted to integrate into the community in order to promote changes in current policies.

Neoliberalism and human services: threat and innovation

S. Swenson

Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, vol. 52, 2008, p. 626-633

Neoliberalism holds that delivery of social welfare services should be based on a market approach. In the US, it is suggested that the families of people with intellectual disabilities should be supplied with government vouchers that they can exchange for services of their choice. The problem with this approach is that providers lack the basic market research information that would enable them to sell services to clients with identified needs. This analysis of the market-based approach to delivery of services to people with intellectual disabilities firstly questions whether their specific and atypical needs and financial position as potential consumers constitute a market. It secondly argues that the approach has limited validity both in view of the ability of people with ID to act as consumers, and of the restrictions imposed on them by the eligibility criteria for welfare and support programmes.

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