Today, I had the pleasure of making a statement about the history and programs at the wonderful Clements Centre Society.
In 1957, parents in British Columbia took a stand. They could no longer accept sending their special needs children to large institutions where they risked suffering abuse and neglect.
Five parents in the Cowichan Valley took their children’s treatment into their own hands and formed the Clements centre for child development. At the Clements centre, children could remain close to their parents while receiving the care and support that they need. Clements now serves over 845 children and adults with development delays or special needs. Joey is one of them.
When Joey did not hit the same developmental milestones as his older sister, Joey’s parents became concerned and were referred to the Clements centre. With the support they found at the centre, Joey’s parents were able to navigate the process of having Joey diagnosed with an intellectual disability, which enabled him to receive the services he needed. When Joey turned 19, the services that were available to him no longer were. Parents in Cowichan worked together again to develop their own program for those who have aged out of the Ministry of Children and Family Development support system.
Today, working with Community Living B.C., Clements provides young adults like Joey with the life skills they need to thrive. Young adults can take workshops like healthy cooking and effective communication, all of which allow them to move closer to independent living.
Joey’s story highlights the important work that organizations like Clements are undertaking as well as the immense need for both community and government support in ensuring that no one with an intellectual disability is unable to access the help they need to live a happy and healthy life.