Funding Crisis in Disability Services

(05 Sep 2019)

An unprecedented crisis is occurring for people with intellectual disabilities and their families, many of whom are experiencing significant unmet need.  Urgent action in Budget 2020 is required to meet the needs of people with intellectual disabilities and their families to address the crisis in disability services.

The National Federation of Voluntary Service Providers is embarking on a national programme of engagement with elected representatives. The aim of this is to ensure that the scale and complexity of the funding issues facing the disability sector are understood at the political level, both in respect of the short term requirements, including Budget 2020, and, in the longer term, in the context of the next General Election and beyond.

Our ultimate aim is to support the sector in advocating for the required funding to support individuals with intellectual disabilities to live lives of their choosing and families who require the support of service providers.  We believe that the best opportunity for success is if all stakeholders are in partnership in representing the funding issues of the disability sector.

The National Federation has developed an infographic which highlights our key messages for this budget campaign which are outlined below.


- €211 million investment in disability services for each year 2020-2024 *
- 300 additional posts in children’s services
- Significant additional funding for planned residential and respite supports to meet pent up and new demand as people with ID and carers age. Residential support for additional 500-800 people required immediately. 
- Funding of compliance and regulatory costs (e.g. HIQA, Fire Safety)
- Investment in safe transport 
- Establishment of Transport Support Scheme. 
*In line with Transforming Lives Working Group 1 Report 

Services in deficit: Due to sustained cuts and increased costs of regulation and insurance, many ID service providers are now operating in deficit positions, with the future continuation of their services at significant risk. 
Pay Restoration: Section 39 agencies have not had full pay restoration, leading to severe difficulties in recruitment & retention.


Unmet need: 

1. Long waiting lists for children’s disability supports means early intervention milestones are being irrevocably missed.
2. Significant shortages of residential support and no pathway to access residential funding except via emergency means adults with ID are not living lives of their choosing in line with UNCRPD, which Ireland has ratified. 
3. Many parents are providing support into their 70’s, 80’s and beyond with no visibility or security of planning into the future for their loved one. (E.g. in a sample of just 18 of our  organisations, 183 people are living with a carer over the age of 80 years of age; 473 with a carer aged between 70-79).
4. Due to high demand, there is significant unmet need for respite - leaving carers in distressing, unsustainable situations and leading to emergency admissions to full time residential care, including for some children.
5. Minimal capital and multi-disciplinary support funding has
been provided for day services since 2008, in spite of the needs of school leavers and those with changing needs.  6. Insufficient, inequitable multi-disciplinary support. 
7. Services are relying on an ageing transport fleet - lack of investment means over 550 vehicles used to support people in ID services are over 10 years old and require replacement

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