State Independent Living Council Discussion Archive

NATSILC: ILRU Warning: Centers May Fear Retailation

Posted by: Lou Diehl
Date Mailed: Thursday, May 8th 2003 10:23 AM

From: ForCompliance@aol.com
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 23:38:44 EST
Subject: ILRU WARNING:  CENTERS MAY FEAR RETALIATION

ILRU's CIL MANAGEMENT SERIES WARNING: CENTERS CAN BECOME LESS AGGRESSIVE
IN ADVOCATING FOR CHANGES BECAUSE BOARD AND STAFF MEMBERS FEAR RETALIATION
THAT MIGHT INCLUDE LOSS OF FUNDING

In 1991, ILRU published a CIL management support series entitled "Staying
on Track." Written by several highly regarded national leaders in the
independent living movement, this series was developed after the authors
interviewed a representative group of Center board and staff members from
across the country.  The series is still offered for CILs and SILCs. 

The following are excerpts from ILRU's "Staying on Track" CIL management
support series: 

"One of the primary reasons that persons with disabilities started
independent living centers is that they had enough of being treated as
clients or patients and disposed of in whatever fashion was determined to
be expedient by a professional with a degree in medicine, counseling or
another field.  (But nothing) makes a center immune to the potential for
becoming just another social service agency, and . . . some of the people
with whom we spoke stated that a number of centers seem to be well on
their way to becoming just like the agencies for which they were designed
to provide an alternative." 

"As funds were secured to establish and to operate independent living
centers, many organizations that had previously been involved only in
community advocacy found themselves receiving grants which put them in
direct service provider roles.  Staffs and boards of these new independent
living centers suddenly found that they were expected -- often by the very
agencies that had previously been targets of their advocacy efforts -- to
deliver high quality services and to be accountable for those services. 

"In many centers, funding to support these services was channeled through
the state vocational rehabilitation agency, and the state agency had
oversight responsibility for center service delivery activities.  In
addition to now being held accountable for delivery of services and
management of funds, many centers were also given the message -- in a
sometimes not very subtle way -- that those funds were meant for service
delivery only." 

"We have heard from many board members, center directors and staff that
with all of the requirements and time demands of service delivery, it is
very hard to find time for advocacy. (They) were concerned about becoming
"co-opted" by becoming just like traditional service agencies that had
been the very targets of consumer group advocacy efforts before those
groups got into the service delivery business." 

"The manner in which centers can be co-opted can take several forms. For
example, in an effort to satisfy external funding and/or oversight
agencies, centers can begin adopting exclusionary eligibility requirements
and/or using extensive and intrusive "intake" procedures before providing
services.  Centers can implement complicated "case management" systems
that stress documentation at the expense of time that could be used for
achieving results.  And, centers can become less aggressive in advocating
for changes in an inadequate or poorly functioning service system or
agency because board and staff members fear retaliation that might include
loss of funding from a public or private agency." 




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