Communities in Schools chief educates committee on organization’s work

first_img WhatsApp Pinterest Communities in Schools chief educates committee on organization’s work By admin – February 10, 2018 CISPBCISPB SchoolsDallas Women’s FoundationLow educational attainment tends to mean dropping out of school, most jobs being out of reach, being less likely to engage in the community, more likely to go to jail and more likely to have children who don’t graduate.These were just some of the probabilities Communities in Schools of the Permian Basin Executive Director Eliseo Elizondo presented to the Student Health Advisory Council. Elizondo said those factors can also lead people to engage in more risky behaviors, which can mean the need for more social services.A nationwide nonprofit organization, Communities in Schools is a dropout prevention program.Those who graduate from high school and college tend to earn more, are more likely to be insured, have better health, be more civically engaged and have children who graduate.According to a poll conducted by Communities in Schools, 88 percent of U.S. teachers believe that student poverty is the No. 1 barrier to effective learning in the classroom, Elizondo said.One out of every five children in the nation lives in poverty; one in four in Texas live in poverty and one in seven in Ector County, Elizondo said. Seventeen percent of all women and girls in Texas live in poverty and it’s even worse if you’re a woman of color, he said.Hispanic girls and women are more likely to live in poverty and be less educated, Elizondo said. The definition of poverty, he said, is a family of three living on less than $19,096 annually.“There still remains large gender inequality still exists in childcare, higher education, housing and health insurance …,” he said.In Texas, 63 percent of workers that earn minimum wage or less are women, according to the 2107 Center for Public Policy Priorities Economic Issues for Women in Texas report, sponsored by the Dallas Women’s Foundation.Women in Texas on average earn 79 percent (79 cents on the dollar) compared to their male counterparts. That drops to 59 percent for black women and 44 percent for Hispanic women.Elizondo also reviewed ECISD’s struggles during Thursday’s SHAC meeting. The district has eight schools on improvement required under state accountability standards. Ector Middle School and Noel and Zavala elementary schools are in their fifth year of improvement required. If they do not come off the list, the campuses will face closure or the Texas Education Commissioner will appoint a board of managers over the whole district.The teacher turnover rate for ECISD is 21 percent, which Elizondo said is above the state average. It is below the state average in terms of graduation rate and average attendance.Fifty-two percent of students in ECISD are economically disadvantaged, which is below the state average of 59 percent, he said. However, that translates to 16,246 students.The at-risk population for ECISD is 58 percent, compared to 51 percent statewide, which translates to 18,289 students, he said. Elizondo said he can serve about 800 students right now.For Elizondo, ground zero is Odessa High School. He said 75 percent of the roughly 4,000 students there would be eligible for Communities in Schools. Because of that, he said he would work toward adding more staff and programs into that campus.Communities in Schools served 1,160 students in 2016-17. Of those, Elizondo said 641 were in Odessa.Eighty-four percent of them were promoted and 96 percent of all students touched by CIS stayed in school. Ninety-eight percent of those were in Odessa.Overall, students in Communities in Schools has a 96 percent graduation rate.Ninety-five percent of Odessa students in CIS graduated. Elizondo said ECISD has an overall graduation rate of 86 percent.CIS was established in the Permian Basin in 1999. Elizondo said it is accredited by TEA and partially funded by TEA.Campus coordinators are stationed at every campus Communities in Schools serves, Elizondo said. Anyone can refer a student to the program, he added.Staff case manage anywhere from 90 to 100 students, Elizondo said. But that doesn’t include walk-ins.The nonprofit partners with local businesses, social service agencies, health care providers and volunteers to connect students and families with outside resources. The organization has been known to provide anything from clothing to tires to places to live and helped with payment of utility bills.However, Elizondo said he is seeking more funding and wants to start the program at Nimitz Middle School and expand some of the other programs CIS offers to ECISD.SCHOOLS COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS SERVESEctor County ISDCrockett Middle SchoolEctor Middle SchoolWilson and Young Medal of Honor Middle SchoolBowie Middle SchoolBonham Middle SchoolOdessa High SchoolPermian High SchoolAlternative Education CenterMidland County ISDGoddard Junior High SchoolLee Freshman High SchoolMidland Freshman High SchoolLee Senior High SchoolMidland Senior High SchoolGreenwood ISDGreenwood High SchoolBrooks Middle School Facebook Odessa High School’s Skylar Herrera (25) shoots against Permian’s Reyna Rayos (10) during the first half Tuesday night at the Permian Fieldhouse. Facebookcenter_img Pinterest Twitter Twitter WhatsApp Local News Previous articleTEXAS VIEW: time to complete I-35WNext articleSweetheart luncheon fundraiser for missions adminlast_img read more

WeWork exits first Hong Kong location as part of global downsizing

first_img Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Share via Shortlink Tower 535 in Hong Kong and WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani (Photos via SOM, Getty)WeWork, which recently struck a $9 billion deal to go public via a special-purpose acquisition company, is still working on its path to profitability. Part of that strategy involves shedding space around the globe.In its latest move, the co-working company exited its 90,000-square-foot office in Hong Kong, according to the South China Morning Post. That amounts to a 20 percent reduction in the territory, leaving WeWork with 360,000 square feet of office space.The company gave up eight floors at Phoenix Property’s Tower 535 in Causeway Bay.The Tower 535 office was WeWork’s first Hong Kong location when it opened in 2016. The company’s lease with Phoenix Property ends in 2025, and the early exit may result in a penalty for WeWork, according to the report.WeWork leased 830,000 square feet of office space in Hong Kong at its peak in 2019. The city’s wider property market has taken a hit since pro-democracy protests began later that year; the coronavirus pandemic has further weakened demand.WeWork’s recent move to cut space builds on new management’s mission to slash the company’s once-massive global footprint and become profitable by the fourth quarter.WeWork has been dumping leases in numerous cities for over a year. So far in 2021, WeWork has exited multiple Manhattan locations and at least one in Los Angeles.Co-working and flex-office firms have struggled amid the work-from-home world, which has reduced the need for conference room and event space, and for related office operations. Meanwhile, WeWork competitor IWG has added more than 50,000 square feet of flexible office space in Hong Kong over the last six months.[SCMP] — Dennis Lynch  hong kongOffice LeasingWeWork Tagslast_img read more

A Wall Against Drug Trafficking

first_img Diálogo: Beyond Central America, how are you working with other countries in our hemisphere to counteract transnational organized crime? Brig. Gen. Adolfo Zepeda Martínez: Nicaragua has developed an idea that we’re putting into practice and that we call the “Containment Wall.” It’s not a wall of stone and concrete; it’s an idea. By means of this idea, we’re trying to keep drug-trafficking elements away from the coasts, so that they don’t spread across our borders. What we’re trying to do [with this idea] is to have controls along the coasts, at the border, and in our airspace, so that drug-trafficking elements or criminal elements remain as far as possible from our territory, because Nicaragua is neither a producer nor a consumer. Nicaragua is like a bridge that drugs cross through any of its routes, by land, by sea, or by air. So we’re trying to do our part. How can we do it? By isolating them, so that they don’t penetrate Nicaragua, and that way other authorities with more resources, such as the United States, for example, can have more control at sea, in the air. Brig. Gen. Zepeda: We share quite extensive land borders with our sister Republic of Honduras, along the Coco River to the Cape of Gracias a Dios, and on the south with our sister Republic of Costa Rica, from Naranjo to San Juan de Nicaragua. We also have two broad coastlines, on the Caribbean and the Pacific. In the framework of the relationship that we have with Honduras, we’ve moved forward with regard to land during meetings between border commanders. These take place periodically. Every two or three months, the commanders of Honduran border units and the commanders of Nicaraguan border units meet in a specified location of common interest to both, sometimes in Nicaragua, other times in Honduras. There they exchange information, agree on coordinating some of the operations at a given location, and establish lines of communication that have proved to be important for greater control of these borders, which happen to be porous borders in some ways, due to their length, to the small number of personnel the Armies have available there, and the few means of transportation. Brig. Gen. Zepeda: Well, the commander in chief and the president have decided to create new units. Among them, we have created a battalion of Marines, who are going to have their base in Puerto Sandino. We’ll possibly inaugurate it in the course of this year. This battalion is going to be in charge of developing a Marine force that can have better results along the coasts, on lakes and inland waters. Nicaragua is a country of lakes and volcanoes, and we also have inland waters. We have two large lakes: Lake Managua (Xolotlán) and Lake Nicaragua (Cocibolca). We’ve found that drug-trafficking elements penetrate our southern border through the waters of Lake Cocibolca to permeate our national territory. The Marine battalion is going to support the inland-waters detachment, which is the one responsible for covering the lakes, to also confront the threats, not only along the coasts and at sea, but also on our inland waters. There’s going to be a force of approximately 500 personnel. The subject of the land border is still pending, but we’re already developing the corresponding controls along the border. We believe that as the fight against drug trafficking is waged in Guatemala, in Honduras, in El Salvador, in Belize, these elements may want to shift to other territories. So we’re paying attention to that phenomenon and building our strength in some places to prevent these elements from coming into our territory from the north and from the south. Diálogo: In practical terms, what measures are you taking to implement this idea? Brig. Gen. Zepeda: The Nicaraguan Army is part of the Conference of Central American Armed Forces (CFAC, for its Spanish acronym), in which we have different levels of cooperation. We also collaborate in different areas with the U.S. Southern Command, especially in the area of training for our officers, through CNIES [the Cooperating Nation Information Exchange System], in the transmission of information about the tracking of illegal movements by air and by sea, which can enable the interception or seizure of drugs along the coast, and following up on the possible illegal incursion of planes into our territory, among others at the country-to-country level. This collaborative effort stems from the document that the Nicaraguan president signed with corresponding U.S. authorities, a document called “Fighting Illicit Trafficking at Sea.” This is a legal document, through which Nicaragua receives the support of the U.S. Coast Guard, by radio, or in whatever way may be already established. Information is given to the Nicaraguan Navy, or vice versa. Diálogo: In protecting its borders, what kind of collaboration does Nicaragua have with its Central American neighbors? Brig. Gen. Zepeda: For me, it’s been a very positive experience. I’ve been able to listen to military leaders, all the experiences that they have, first hand, in person. We believe that if we’re successful with operations conducted at the national level, we can succeed in building a good synergy that can make it possible to improve regional results. We hope that this effort doesn’t end at the national level, but that it transforms into a regional effort. General Douglas Fraser [commander, U.S. Southern Command] has said the same thing, that he hopes that this strategy will become a regional strategy to fight these illicit activities and improve the results. Of interest.center_img Diálogo: Could you cite an example of joint operations with military forces from other countries? By Dialogo October 01, 2012 Diálogo: During CENTSEC 2012, there were references to Nicaragua’s implementation of a homegrown initiative for the fight against drug trafficking. Could you explain to us what this is about? When Brigadier General Adolfo Zepeda Martínez speaks about Nicaragua, he does so in an almost poetic tone. The head of the Intelligence and Counterintelligence Directorate of the nation’s Army tells of a “land of lakes and volcanoes” and traverses its geography, mentioning locations by name, as if he were enjoying an imaginary trip through each part of his country. In April, during the Central American Security Conference (CENTSEC 2012), sponsored by the U.S. Southern Command, Brig. Gen. Zepeda traveled to El Salvador to represent Nicaragua. On that occasion, during an interview granted to Diálogo, the military officer talked about the “Containment Wall,” a national strategy that seeks to keep drug traffickers within bounds, far from Nicaragua’s lakes, coasts and borders. Brig. Gen. Zepeda: At this time, we’re participating in Operation Martillo, which is being led by the Southern Command and JIATF–S (the Joint Interagency Task Force–South). Practically all the Central American countries and others, even European ones, are participating in that operation. We’ve also been participating in that effort with the Southern Command when they invite us to take part in military exercises, such as Panamax, for example. Diálogo: What concrete benefits do you take away from participating in conferences like CENTSEC 2012? last_img read more

Rick C. Schwegman

first_imgRick C. Schwegman, age 51 of St Mary’s, Indiana, passed away on July 19, 2019 at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati following a brief but serious illness.Born to Wilfred (Shorty) and Linda (Bischoff) Schwegman on June 16, 1968 in Batesville. Rick was the third of four close-knit sons who grew up near St. Mary’s where the Schwegman’s have farmed for generations. Part of the family’s heritage is a steadfast loyalty to the International Harvester brand, and Rick did his part to uphold that tradition.Rick was a fourth-generation member of St. Mary’s of the Rock Catholic Church in Franklin County and was a 1986 graduate of Batesville High School. He was a heavy equipment operator for Schumacher Dugan Construction in Cincinnati, where he was employed for 20 years.  Rick was a member of the Ohio Operating Engineers Union Local 18 and also raised beef cattle with his brother Joe.Rick is survived by his wife, Susan; their son, William Chase; daughters Cassidy Eckstein (Justin Meyer) of Hamburg and Somer Eckstein of Sunman; grandson River Ronnebaum; his parents of St. Mary’s; brothers Joe (Gerri) and Mike, both of St. Mary’s, and Jim of Birmingham, Alabama; mother-in-law Mary Helen Boyer of Indianapolis and numerous nieces and nephews.Visitation will be Thursday, July 25 from 4 to 7 pm at the Weigel Funeral Home. The service will be held on Friday at 10 am at St. Mary’s of the Rock Catholic Church with burial following in the church cemetery.  Memorial contributions may be made to St Mary’s Preservation Society.last_img read more

Tennis News Simona Halep To Play In China Open Despite Chronic Back Problem

first_imgNew Delhi: Wimbledon champion Simona Halep said on Saturday that she will compete at the China Open in Beijing, days after retiring from the Wuhan Open with a back problem. If fully fit, the 28-year-old Romanian will be among the favourites next week in the Chinese capital, where Serena Williams will not play because of a knee issue. Halep, a former world number one, was forced out of the Wuhan third round on Wednesday, saying she had a muscle issue in the lower part of her back. She suffered a herniated disc in Beijing a year ago, bringing an early end to her 2018 season.  “The back is better, is getting better and I’m having treatment every day,” said Halep, who plays a qualifier in her Beijing opener. “I had two days off and today I practised. In my opinion, I can play tomorrow.” “You never know with the back, every tournament starts with the back (issue) because I had problems since 2008,” she added. “So it’s normal to have tough periods.”  Halep, the Wimbledon holder and 2018 French Open champion, twice finished the year number one in the world. She is now sixth, but said that being top of the rankings was not her primary concern. “My goal is to win Grand Slams and also tournaments,” Halep said. For all the Latest Sports News News, Tennis News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

Half-time: Burnley 2 Fulham 0

first_imgFormer Brentford striker Andre Gray scored twice in the first half to threaten Fulham’s five-match unbeaten run.Gray nodded in David Jones’ cross for Burnley’s opener and doubled the lead eight minutes before the break after latching on to Scott Arfield’s through ball.Fulham’s best effort came from Jamie O’Hara, who shot just too high and wide late in the half, while Tom Cairney also fired off target.Burnley, who have won four of their last five Championship matches, signalled their intent on 15 minutes when Sam Vokes nodded Ben Mee’s cross just over the bar.Vokes also had a shot blocked by Dan Burn but a minute later, the hosts went ahead. Jones’ corner was cleared back out to him and Gray got ahead of Ryan Tunnicliffe to head past Joe Lewis.The Fulham keeper, playing after an injury in training to Andy Lonergan, was beaten again on 37 minutes as Arfield picked out the run of Gray, who slotted home.Whites boss Kit Symons named the same 10 outfielders who started the 4-1 win at Bristol City, with Moussa Dembele retaining his place up front after five goals in his last three games.Matt Smith is once again on a very strong bench, alongside the likes of Luke Garbutt, Ben Pringle, Lasse Christensen, Cauley Woodrow and Alex Kacankilic.Burnley: Heaton; Darikwa, Duff, Keane, Mee; Boyd, Jones, Barton, Arfield; Vokes, Gray. Subs: Gilks, Ward, Ulvestad, Taylor, Lowton, Long, Hennings.Fulham: Lewis; Stearman, Burn, Ream; Fredericks, Tunnicliffe, O’Hara, Cairney, Husband; McCormack, Dembele. Subs: Rodak, Garbutt, Pringle, Christensen, Kacaniklic, Woodrow, Smith.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

10 months ago​Sarri reiterates opinion of Chelsea as non-contenders

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say ​Sarri reiterates opinion of Chelsea as non-contendersby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveMaurizio Sarri has reiterated his opinion that Chelsea are not title contenders.While Sarri has done a decent job since replacing Antonio Conte in the summer, his team are in 4th place and 11 points off the league leaders Liverpool.He believes that is too big a gap to make up in half a season, especially as Chelsea have struggled for consistency in recent months.”No,” he said when a reporter asked if they were title contenders in his press conference. “You know very well my opinion. “From the beginning of the season there are two teams above, then there is a little gap. “City will be able to recover the gap, the title is fighting between City and Liverpool.” last_img read more

Garfield Joins The Shelter Pet Project

first_imgIn celebration of Adopt a Cat Month, beloved animated cat and international icon Garfield has joined The Shelter Pet Project in several new videos and sharable graphics to show the love and joy that shelter pets bring to their owners’ lives.Garfield Joins Shelter Pet ProjectIn the new public service ads (PSAs), characters Garfield and Odie encourage audiences to visit TheShelterPetProject.org to meet cats and dogs available for adoption at local shelters and rescue groups.Garfield and Odie have been beloved fixtures in popular culture since 1978, when the cartoon debuted in 41 newspapers. Today, the famous fat cat is featured in 2,100 newspapers and is the star of the world’s most widely syndicated comic strip. Garfield and Odie have gone on to also star in books, on TV, and even in musicals over the years.“Who better to champion the need to visit a shelter than Garfield?” said Garfield creator and CEO of Paws, Inc. Jim Davis. “Everyone here at Paws, Inc. is so honored to be a part of this initiative. I hope that Garfield can encourage a whole new generation to visit their local animal shelter or rescue group. Who knows, there might be a Garfield or an Odie waiting for them.”June marks a particularly active time for shelters and rescue groups, as it’s the peak of kitten season, when thousands of newborn homeless kittens join other cats available for adoption across the United States. There are cats for every personality in shelters and rescue groups right now, and with each adoption, the number of healthy and treatable pets who lose their lives in shelters each year declines. Currently, about 2.4 million pets still need to find a home each year. The Shelter Pet Project’s goal is to bring that number down to zero.“Every shelter pet deserves a loving family, and every loving family deserves an amazing shelter pet,” said Michael Markarian, Chief Program and Policy Officer for The HSUS. “We are thrilled to have the support of Garfield and Odie in urging families to make shelters and rescue groups their first stop when bringing a beloved new four-legged friend into their home.”The videos feature Garfield talking directly to the screen encouraging viewers to go online and see what shelter pets are available in their area. In addition to the videos, the Paws, Inc. team has created a series of animated social graphics depicting Garfield and Odie asking viewers to visit the Shelter Pet Project website. At TheShelterPetProject.org, prospective adopters can browse through a database of dogs and cats available for adoption in their area and learn more about misconceptions around shelter pet adoption as well as about the process of adopting a pet.“If just a small percentage of those looking to acquire a pet in the next year choose to adopt, we can end the euthanization of all healthy and treatable pets across the U.S,” said Rich Avanzino, President of Maddie’s Fund. “Thanks to Garfield, millions of people can see the joy – and laughs – that come with sharing their lives with pets. We couldn’t ask for a better friend to support our campaign.”“The Shelter Pet Project is one of our most beloved campaigns and it has helped countless pets find loving homes and families. This partnership with Paws, Inc. and Garfield will only enhance our message,” said Ad Council President and CEO Lisa Sherman. “Garfield has been an iconic and treasured figure for generations of children and families and he will be such an influential advocate for shelter pets across the country. We are hopeful that he will be able to reach and inspire new audiences.”last_img read more

Rep Brann invites local school superintendent to State of the State Address

first_img12Feb Rep. Brann invites local school superintendent to State of the State Address Categories: Brann News,Brann Photos PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Tommy Brann of Wyoming welcomed Godwin Heights Public Schools Superintendent Bill Fetterhoff to the House floor for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State Address.last_img

The number of kids who struggle with thoughts of s

first_imgThe number of kids who struggle with thoughts of suicide or who attempt to kill themselves is rising. New research, published Wednesday in Pediatrics, finds children ages 5 to 17 visited children’s hospitals for suicidal thoughts or attempts about twice as often in 2015 as in 2008.The study found kids of all ages are affected though increases were greatest for older adolescents. Lead author Gregory Plemmons, a pediatrician and researcher at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., says the study results confirmed what he had been seeing at the hospital.He says he hopes clinicians and families take note. “The No. 1 thing to take home is that it’s important to talk about this and important to ask about it,” he says.The findings line up with past data showing a steady increase in teen suicide over the past decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last year that a drop in adolescent suicide in the 1990s and early 2000s reversed course in 2008, though it has not yet reached peak levels seen in the 1980s. It’s not clear what has contributed to the increase, but the study noted the 2008 financial crisis may be one factor.Plemmons and his co-researchers examined billing data from 2008 to 2015 from a database of 49 children’s hospitals across the U.S. They included all emergency department encounters, stays for observation and inpatient hospitalizations at those hospitals. However, community hospitals were not included.The researchers turned up 115,856 visits for suicidal ideation or attempts, during the seven-year period. Such visits represented 0.7 percent of total children’s hospital visits in 2008, but by 2015 had increased to 1.8 percent of all visits. More than half the visits required at least one night of hospitalization, and nearly 1 in 7 required intensive care.Older teens were more likely to end up in the hospital and had the greater increase in hospital visits. About half of suicide-related hospital visits for the time studied were from teens ages 15 to 17, but 12- to 14-year-olds closely trailed them, making up 37 percent of visits. Children ages 5 to 11 made up the remaining 13 percent.One of the study’s most striking findings was a seasonal trend in hospital visits. Throughout the years, visits peaked in midfall and midspring and fell to the lowest point in the summer. “We knew there was an association with school seasons, but actually seeing that mapped out was surprising,” says Plemmons. It suggests a link with school pressures. “It really speaks to the stress and the strain at school,” says Dr. Robert Dicker, associate director of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y. “Kids appear to be under much more academic success to achieve and their perception of falling short.”Dicker, who was not involved in the study, noted possible influences from the media, particularly social media.Plemmons also drew attention to social media’s influence. “You’re becoming more disconnected and not having relationships with real people, and at the same time, you’re being fed a false distortion of what reality is, where everything looks great onscreen,” he says.Cyberbullying and sexting, he adds, could also be risk factors. “These kids have to deal with pressures that we didn’t deal with.”Other possible contributors noted in the study included earlier puberty in girls, since reaching puberty is a risk factor for suicide. Girls made up two-thirds of the hospital visits in the study period.But none of these possibilities is definitive. “This type of study is very good at revealing trends but cannot address causality,” says Dr. Laurel Williams, chief of psychiatry at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. Despite being the third-leading cause of death in adolescents, suicide is still relatively rare, making it harder to study causes, she says. But it is important to screen for depression and anxiety, she says. Her institution also uses validated screening tools to screen adolescents and is exploring teleconsultation strategies to help pediatricians manage cases if they feel underprepared or uncomfortable. “We know there are a lot of patients still out there who have clinical depression who are not accessing care,” Plemmons says, adding that it’s important for adults to identify resources in their area for struggling teens. Parents can start with their child’s primary care doctor.But the most important first step is one anyone can take.”The current best method for identifying risk is to ask,” Williams says. “Asking a young person how they are feeling, not just how they are doing, is essential. We need to give young people the time and space to talk about how they are feeling. This involves developing closer relationships over time, not something you can scramble at the last minute or only in moments of crisis.”Plemmons also emphasized the importance of talking to adolescents about the issue. “There’s still a huge stigma and anything you can do to destigmatize it helps,” he says, adding that a fear still exists among some pediatricians and parents that discussing suicide may suggest it to adolescents. “We know from literature that that’s not the case,” Plemmons says. “Talking about it can sometimes help reduce the risk.” If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting 741741. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://sp2.img.hsyaolu.com.cn/wp-shlf1314/2031/IMG14849.jpg” alt=”last_img” /> read more

The Welsh governments decision to close its indep

first_imgThe Welsh government’s decision to close its independent living grant scheme and pass the funding to local authorities could see cuts to the support packages of hundreds of disabled people, new research suggests.Disabled campaigners say that information released by local authorities in Wales has created “extreme cause for concern” about the transition process, which is seeing funding from the interim Welsh Independent Living Grant (WILG) passed to the 22 councils.WILG was set up by the Welsh government – with UK government funding – as a short-term measure to support former recipients of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) when ILF was closed in June 2015.But the Welsh government is now closing WILG and by April next year the 22 councils will be solely responsible for meeting the support needs of all former ILF-recipients in Wales.The Welsh government’s own estimates, released to Disability News Service (DNS) last night (Wednesday), suggest that about 200 former WILG-recipients will see their support packages cut by next April.Members of the Save WILG campaign, led by former ILF-recipient Nathan Lee Davies (pictured), submitted freedom of information requests to all 22 Welsh councils earlier this year, and they say the responses proved they were right to be concerned that the transition process would lead to many former ILF-users seeing their support packages cut.Few of the councils were willing to provide detailed information about how the process of re-assessing the needs of the former ILF-recipients in their areas would affect their support packages.But some of the local authorities admitted that a significant proportion of those currently receiving support through the WILG have already had their support packages cut.In Wrexham, Davies’ home local authority, the council said it had re-assessed less than a third of former ILF-users but had already cut the support of 18 of them, increasing support for just seven, and leaving one package unchanged.Monmouthshire council had cut four of 19 packages, Conwy had reduced two of 12 – although the vast majority had still to be assessed – while Caerphilly had reduced four of 29, Merthyr Tydfil had reduced 15 per cent, and both Carmarthenshire and Rhondda councils had cut 10 per cent of support packages.About a third of the councils – including Pembrokeshire, Gwynedd, Anglesey, Cardiff and Blaenau Gwent – failed to say how many support packages had been cut.But some local authorities did produce more encouraging answers, with Powys council saying the reassessment process had seen it increase the support packages of 59 of 62 former ILF-users.Although Port Talbot council had reviewed less than a third of service-users, half had had their packages increased, and the other half had seen them stay at the same level, while Bridgend decided that all but one former ILF-recipient would continue to receive the same support package.There were also repeated warnings from the local authorities that they could not promise that support packages would not be cut in the future, with Cardiff council warning that “no guarantees as to the future are possible with any funding arrangement”.Asked if it could guarantee that WILF recipients would have their care packages ring-fenced from all future austerity cuts forced onto local authorities, both Merthyr Tydfil and Port Talbot replied with just one word: “No.”Huw Irranca-Davies, the Welsh government’s minister for social care, has previously pledged that no former ILF-users would lose out in the transition process.But a Welsh government spokesman said that its most recent monitoring of the transition had found about 100 of 580 WILG-recipients were having their support “provided in a different manner than previously”*, while 130 were receiving more support.As about 1,300 people are due to go through the transition, this suggests that about 200 former WILG-users will eventually see their packages cut.He insisted that the government was committed to ensuring that all disabled people are “fully supported to live independently in their communities”.And he said that Irranca-Davies had visited both Powys and Wrexham councils this week to “see at first hand the work they have been undertaking” and “will be speaking to other authorities about this over the next few weeks”.The government spokesman said: “He will also be asking authorities to undertake a deep dive of a sample of cases where there have been significant changes in the type of support people are receiving, to establish the reasons for this and ensure they are receiving the appropriate support they require to live independently.“This is in addition to the ongoing monitoring of the programme, and an additional independent evaluation which has been commissioned by the minister.”The spokesman claimed that the “feedback from disabled people” on the transition programme had been “positive”.He said: “Together with our partners in local government and the third sector, we will continue to closely monitor the process and the individual outcomes of the transition from the ILF to the person-centred and co-produced approach to independent living in Wales.”But Miranda Evans, policy and programmes manager for Disability Wales, said her organisation was “extremely concerned that disabled people with high support requirements are having their hours of care reduced when transferring over to direct payments”. She said: “In a number of cases people are losing their ‘socialising’ hours, which is of great concern. “This vital support enables people to play a part in their community, volunteer with a local group and get involved in political life. “Without this necessary support disabled people will become isolated, disengaged and unable to leave their home.”Disability Wales has called for an “urgent review” of the Welsh government’s policy and investigations into the differences between how local authorities are applying it, which she said showed “the further development of a postcode lottery”.She added: “We remain concerned that funding will be absorbed by social services budgets and not be directed to those who need it: disabled people with high support requirements.”Davies said the Welsh government’s comments showed that “they simply refuse to see the evidence that is staring them in the face”.He said: “Yet again the Welsh government seems to think of former ILF recipients as a privileged bunch.“This is not the case at all, as we are disabled people with high care and support needs who were guaranteed a lifetime of adequate support under the old ILF system.“They do not deserve to be made to feel like a hindrance by the Welsh government.”He said the conclusions that can be drawn from the freedom of information responses were “very worrying indeed” and show “a shocking lack of consistency between local authorities, the development of a ‘postcode lottery’, the lack of an adequate complaints procedure for former ILF recipients and an alarming lack of security, or guarantees, for the future”. Davies is determined to persuade the Welsh government to keep the current system, which allows former ILF-recipients some security by receiving funding from three different “pots”: WILG, local authorities and their own personal contributions.He said: “The responses reflect why we started the campaign three years ago and give weight to our belief that the tripartite system of care needs to be maintained.“Disabled people with high care and support needs simply cannot rely on cash-strapped local authorities to provide the levels of care that they need. “One of my biggest concerns is that even the local authorities who have increased a majority of care packages cannot guarantee that these packages will remain at the same levels in future years.“It is a concern that these generous increases may only be put in place for a year, while the local authorities sharpen their axes for further cuts once the campaign is over.” He added: “The Welsh government now need to listen to the voices that have supported our campaign – assembly members, MPs, Disability Labour, Jeremy Corbyn, shadow chancellor John McDonnell, celebrities such as Ken Loach and most importantly their own members who passed a motion calling on them to #SaveWILG at the Welsh Labour conference in April 2018.” *The Welsh government press office was unable to confirm by 1pm today that this means that their support hours have been reduced A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more