Impact on Families: A Parent’s Perspective Leila Rahemtulla BC Association for Community Living A Parent’s Perspective • Our children are our gifts not our burdens • “You You don don’tt choose your family. family They are God God’s s gift to you, as you are to them” -- Desmond Tutu • A family’s care should not contribute to or justify a shrinking social net • A family’s inability or unwillingness to continue support cannot be equated to not caring Cost is a Family Affair • What are some of costs to family? • • • • Supports for the family member Choices in work or career and schooling Choices in home or living arrangements Choices in time to care for other family members (siblings, spouses, extended family) • Choices in living, enjoyment and recreation • Health and well being • Financial condition Honouring Dignity • Talking about poverty is a sensitive issue • Our definition the term “poverty” poverty and our judgment can impact a discussion • We cannot strip away power with pity • “Being Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat. eat.” -- Mother Teresa Each Family is Unique • Each family has a story -- in order to understand it, we must listen • We cannot simply group families under headings such as “living in poverty” or “living with i h iintellectual ll l di disabilities” bili i ” or b both h and dh hope to appreciate the depth of their perspectives • To engage in a dialogue about creating a better life, we must honour families in their choices and respect them in their financial condition Closing Thoughts • “No government can love a child, and no policy can substitute for a family’s care. But at the same time, government can either support or undermine families as they cope with moral, social and economic stresses of caring for children”--Hillary children Hillary Clinton • This must be a dialogue and when our differences are broken down enough for us to see we’re all connected, we can contribute to the transformation of our society.