The article by King (2020) highlights the risk of permanent culture face by Tania’s place, special needs adult day program, due to lack of funds. The major cause of the issue is the lack of funds to pay fees by some families due to the COVID-19 pandemic causing job losses and business closures. However, Tania’s Place’s owner, Francie Trajkovski, states that the daycare will be saved if the families use Ontario’s Passport program to pay their fees (King, 2020). There is little information from the province on whether they will get reimbursement if the program is used to pay fees, even though before COVID-19, all the families used the program for fee payment. The article also confirms the availability of funds to provide financial support to the daycare; the government’s statement fails to specify how the families can access these funds to pay their face and keep the daycare from closure (King, 2020).
The importance of keeping Tania’s Place open is essential to the families due to its significance to the families it serves and the impacts of the temporary on the families’ emotional and mental well-being. Access to respite care services for children with ASD is an exhaustive and daunting process for parents (Cooke, E., Smith, V., & Brenner, 2020). The article interviews Kelly MacLean, whose autistic son has been attending the daycare, which indicates the effect of the closure on her and her son. She states that her son has been staying at home, away from people he had built rapport with for the last 15 years (King, 2020). Kelly MacLean says, “But when I see the look on his face, it makes me want to cry because he just wants to be with them” (King, 2020). Moreover, she affirms that if Tania’s Place closes, she would quit her job and take care of her son full time. It is essential to keep Tania’s Place open since, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been job losses, making it hard for the families to access independent agencies and individuals who provide respite care.
The educational initiatives to raise awareness on keeping Tania’s Place open will focus on educating the public on the impact of closing the respite care. The risk of permanent closure has been increased by the little information provided on how families in need can access funds to pay for their school fees. However, the information on whether to use Ontario’s Passport program to pay for respite care alone cannot solve the problem. Whereas this information is important to the families in need, the public requires to know the effects of closing Tania’s place in society. Thus, the second educational initiative will aim to create awareness in public. The awareness program will be based on evidence of studies and recounts of the affected families on the mental and emotional impact of accessing respite services on a child and their parents. Moreover, the public’s educational initiative will also raise concerns on the effects of Tania’s Place closure, and the lack of a clear framework to gain financial support to access its services affects meeting specific needs of the families. Also, public awareness on the role of COVID-19 in amplifying the need to access government funds by families in need.
After the education initiatives and the public are aware of the problem, I will start lobbying to help change the government funds’ policy to access respite care by families in need. The specific political lobby strategy will be the grassroots lobby. In this type of strategy, usually, the people’s power is at the core, and it is a kind of indirect lobbying. The main step of grassroots lobbying is the creation of awareness about the effect of closing Tania’s Place due to lack of access to government funds for those in need. Using the educational initiatives develop, the public’s awareness will be increased and used as a channel of influencing the choice of the lawmakers of the province. The process of creating awareness involves encouraging and enabling supporters to reach out to us through different communication channels such as social media, email, telephone, and direct email to share their stance using patch-through calling.
Patch-through calling is essential for increasing the connection of voters to an official. Through patch-through calling, I will call supporters, tutor them on the effect of Tania’s Place closure, and introduces them to how to carry the conversation with the right lawmaker before patching them to a call to the right representative. Moreover, I will use media outreach to create awareness on the impact regarding government policies on the use of government funds to pay for fees and prevent the closure of Tania’s Place. It will be the use of different media such as television, print, and online media as social media to influence people to make a stand.
Writing a submission to the government is a crucial step in the advocacy initiative. It will give me to present the case in a meaningful way. Since there are numerous ways and styles and no particular format or style demanded, to effectively write a submission to the government, I will use a typed policy memo for my submission. The choice of a typed memorandum is influenced by its various characteristics and its uniqueness in achieving our target.
One major reason for choosing a memo to analyze the issue and offer recommendations to inform policy change is its style and tone. Memos are usually concise and can be easily understood by even busy readers. Also, memos provide clarity since they are written for intelligent but uninformed readers. It gives me the chance to be consistent, specific and avoid jargon while submitting my proposal. Moreover, another importance of using a memo for my submission is the objectivity it presents. Although most memo writing is done to convince a decision-maker to select a certain policy, it allows me to consider numerous perspectives that address all policy options’ weaknesses and strengths.
Moreover, the memo structure provides a crucial advantage in articulating the issue at hand and the various ways to improve the outcome. It gives the opportunity to make clear and strong statements about the need to access government in the wake of COVID-19 in accessing respite care and keep Tania’s Place open. It also provides a concise way to present evidence of the impact of lack of access to respite services and mechanisms to access parents and children and stories of those affected by the permanent closure of Tania’s Place to make the arguments more persuasive. It also articulates points well, which makes it easier to understand and form alliances and coalitions.
Cooke, E., Smith, V., & Brenner, M. (2020). Parents’ experiences of accessing respite care for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at the acute and primary care interface: a systematic review. BMC pediatrics, 20, 1-12.
King, A. (2020). ‘We’ll have nowhere to go: Special needs adult day program at risk of permanent closure. Cbc.ca. Retrieved 12 April 2021, from https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.5530412.