The project addresses the problem of lack of systemic support for adults with intellectual disabilities in Poland. It is estimated that there are 130,000 people over the age of 16 living in Poland with a diagnosis of intellectual disability. Despite the convention on the rights of these persons ratified by Poland in 2012, there are still no systemic solutions regarding housing, financial and legal security. People with intellectual disabilities are most often cared for by their parents; in the absence of relatives, they end up in social welfare homes. Meanwhile, our experience of piloting the creation of local circles of support has shown that the model works effectively.
As part of the project, community-based support for families and people with intellectual disabilities was initiated in three cities, namely Bytom, Tarnow and Zgierz, where the Partner has branches. 20 adults with intellectual disabilities and 30 carers worked on securing a future, empowerment and building support circles around people with intellectual disabilities. At the same time, 21 professionals from the local Partner branches took part in training on implementing a system of community work based on circles of support and securing the future of adults with intellectual disabilities. There were also group supervisions for professionals and local seminars for people with intellectual disabilities, carers and local institutional partners. As part of the Parent Academy course, 15 people learned how to support the independence of an adult child with intellectual disability and plan for their future. People with intellectual disabilities as well as their parents benefited from specialist counselling, including legal, sexological, psychological, healthy eating. A coalition of allies has been formed in each of the three cities to support independent and self-reliant living for people with intellectual disabilities.
As a result of the project, three new cities piloted the Safe Future model. Circles of support were created around 16 people with intellectual disabilities. People with intellectual disabilities (and their families) received comprehensive support and developed the competences necessary to take up independent and autonomous living. Community workers also improved their competences. A sustainable local partnership for supporting people with intellectual disabilities has been established, opening up local communities to their needs, building circles of support.