Update from our Family & Community Services, April 2023

Today we share some information about changes to some of the services at IDHHC.

Over many years IDHHC has developed numerous partners in delivering services on Vancouver Island. Specifically within our Family and Community Program:

  1. We partner with BC Family Hearing Resource Society (BCFHRS) to provide ASL to families with Deaf, DeafBlind and hard of hearing children under the age of 5 years.
  2. We have a contract with Provincial Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (PDHHS) to deliver services to families with Deaf, DeafBlind and hard of hearing children ages 5 to 23 years.
  3. We work in partnership with Deaf Well Being Program (WBP) to assist individuals on Vancouver Island in accessing mental health supports and services.

Our Family and Community Program has staff members Alex Walker in Nanaimo, and Leslee Scott and Susanne Harnden in the Victoria office. The Family and Community Program has been funded for many years by the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) and the money comes through our contract with PDHHS. The funding that is received through this contract pay wages for these three staff members in our Victoria and Nanaimo offices.

Recently PDHHS told us they will terminate the IDHHC contract in September 2023.

Loss of this funding means we need to let our three Family and Community Program staff members go from their positions. Susanne Harnden will be finished in her role as Outreach Worker at the end of April. Alex Walker and Leslee Scott will both retire at the end of the summer.

So here at IDHHC we will have to make some changes. We will maintain our work with BCFHRS. We will continue to have our Deaf ASL instructors teaching ASL to families with Deaf, DeafBlind and hard of hearing children under the age of 5 years.

IDHHC will continue our close relationship with Deaf Well Being Program as we work together over the next few months to determine what services and supports are required on Vancouver Island.

PDHHS has hired a family navigator here on Vancouver Island that will provide enhanced services to families with school aged Deaf, DeafBlind and hard of hearing children. Services to Vancouver Island families will be led by the PDHHS team with transition support from IDHHC team until September.

For IDHHC some of these changes will happen quickly, others will happen over the next few months. During this time of transition we ask for your patience and flexibility as we all go through this process.

With a 30 year history, our goal at IDHHC is to ensure the unique needs of Deaf, DeafBlind and hard of hearing individuals and families are supported. Exactly how those supports are delivered will look different in the days ahead.

Transition and change can be difficult. Change can also provide an opportunity to explore new ways of doing things. IDHHC will continue to provide updates and information as soon as it becomes available.

IDHHC Staff and Board of Directors
April 18, 2023

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