Little more than a year ago I joined Community Services as the executive sponsor for transformation -- and what a year it has been!
Since joining Community Services, I continue to be amazed by the commitment of self-advocates, their families, community groups and service providers as we continue the momentum in creating a new Disabilities Support Program for Nova Scotians.
I’m pleased to reflect on how much has been accomplished and at the same time excited to consider how much is still to come.
In this short amount of time, we’ve put the executive team in place and are now building up supports for the overall departmental change. This includes the Transformation Support Unit and its new Director Kathleen Ernest, a leader in transforming government service delivery.
Among the highlights, significant progress has been made in increasing community living. The department has set a goal of increasing community living by 70 and is more than halfway there. This has a domino effect and increases flexibility for services and supports elsewhere. I was particularly interested in hearing directly from Linda MacLellan about how her life changed when she began living in a small options home. I hope you will appreciate her willingness to share as much as I have.
We remain are open to your suggestions about how this site can help you understand the transformation and participate in the development of the many projects and initiatives that will help us move forward.
With us all pulling in the same direction, I’m confident that we will achieve great things.
Associate Deputy Minister, Strategy and Transformation
For just over 8 months I have had the pleasure of working with an exceptional team and have met many of our partners across the province. The work we do is extraordinary and the impact of that work makes Nova Scotia a better place. Responding to the Roadmap was the highest priority and we released the Choice and Inclusion: Implementation Plan. This document highlights the road forward and sets a specific timeline for reaching our goals.
One specific change that has taken place is the renaming of our program – Disability Support Program. We’re now called “Disability Support Program”. This new name clearly describes our focus that goes beyond ‘services’ and recognizes the depiction of our program in the Joint Committee’s Roadmap. By April 1, 2015 all the activity leading to full implementation of the new name will be completed. Thanks to the Joint Committee members and specific DCS staff for input on the name.
To reach our goals we recognized early on that in order to make it work we needed a strong project management focus. To that end, I am pleased to announce the addition of Amanda Pickrem to the DCS team. Amanda serves as Project Director for the Disability Support Program. Amanda’s focus will be to work with program staff, project consultants and her colleagues in the Transformation Support Unit to help all of us meet our collective project and program outcomes under Transformation.
We are very pleased to announce David Piers as the consulting firm awarded the contract to assist DSP with transformation. This firm will help us move the 'yard sticks' forward and is expected to be an integral componenet enabiling us in meeting our goals.
The path forward is an aggressive one and it will take the effort of the entire DCS team to make the best of it. You and I, with our clients and community partners, will continue to make progress on our path to an accessible society that respects dignity and choice for all persons with disabilities.Thank you,
Executive Director, Community Services