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SIS assessments demeaning to vulnerable Albertans: Towle

EDMONTON, AB (April 17, 2014): The questions asked of Persons with Developmental Disabilities clients to determine their level of provincial assistance are personally humiliating and need to be changed to show more respect, Wildrose Human Services Critic Kerry Towle said today.

The Supports Intensity Scale assessment interviews, which have recently come under some scrutiny after Associate Minister of PDD Naresh Bhardwaj publicly questioned their effectiveness,  are not only disrespectful of clients, they don’t adequately assess their needs, Towle said.

Examples of the questions being asked are:

  • If you were to participate in post-secondary education, like regular people, would you need help to do so?
  • Are you sexually active?  Are you safe when sexually active?  Do you need help to be sexually active?
  • Do you ever sexually assault others?
  • Do you steal?
  • What assistance would you need to have a romantic relationship up to an including an intimate one like other regular people your age?

Towle obtained the questions from a whistleblower who wishes to remain anonymous.

“Imagine having your answers to these questions analyzed to determine what kind of supports you would get from the provincial government,” Towle said. “These questions are demeaning to vulnerable Albertans and simply don’t provide a clear enough picture of what individuals require.”

The SIS assessments have long been controversial and criticized for being too difficult to comprehend for clients, often requiring answers from proxies, Towle adds.

“This is a broken model,” Towle said. “It’s time to get rid of these insulting assessments and replace them with a model that is respectful and that works.”