INDEPENDENT NEWS

Kimberley Centre Closure

Published: Fri 22 Dec 2000 10:13 AM
At the recent monthly meeting of the Palmerston North Community Services Council it was resolved that we express our grave concerns about the proposed closure of the Kimberley Centre.
The people currently residing there have previously been declared unsuited for release to the community. All those declared suitable for integration into the community have already been integrated.
On the information we have seen, there is no justification given for the closure of the Centre, nor is there any summary of the views expressed at the several meetings held around the country. We suspect that there was little support from them in support of closure.
While we support mainstreaming in principle, we consider there are limits. In Britain it has been admitted that these limits have been exceeded, to the detriment of all concerned, including the wider community.
We consider that the decision to close the Centre is being made on grounds other than the best interests of the people there and their possible support networks in the wider community. We consider this situation unacceptable.
Should the decision to close be confirmed, we urge that this not be done until sufficient, appropriate resources and facilities are established and functioning in the community.
We further urge that adequate, appropriate assistance and support be allocated to the carers for these people before they are released. This includes adequate remuneration and systems for relief, holidays and sick leave. Essentially all of these people require 24 hour a day skilled care.
In the past, neither of these conditions has been met. This has resulted in severe stress to the people released, their carers, members of their families, other support workers and the wider community as well.
Experience has demonstrated that a number of people released previously have found themselves in most undesirable circumstances, quite inappropriate to their needs.
We urge that serious reconsideration be given to the proposal that Kimberley be closed. However, if the decision is confirmed, that it not be proceeded with until all appropriate support facilities, resources and systems are in place and functioning in the community with appropriate support for the carers.
Ian Ritchie P N Community Services Council Executive Officer FEILDING R D 7 ph / fax 06 3289 618 ubinz@yahoo.com http://www.geocities.com/ubinz/IR/

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