16 September 2014

Parents Unhappy with Inspire services seeking other NGOs

 - Saturday, 07 April 2012, 00:00

by Annaliza Borg

A good number of parents of disabled children and young adults cancelled their Inspire membership because they were unhappy with the service being given, and have sent letters to the Education and the Health ministries to inform them about this.

Inspire receives thousands of euros in assistance from the government for subsidised services it gives. It receives a fixed amount of money, annually per child.

Over the past weeks, this newspaper published a number of stories giving reactions from the Health and Education Ministries to complaints made by Inspire. The organisation is insisting that two years ago, the government cut its funding and necessary services to disabled children cannot be given any longer. Parents of children still receiving services at Inspire wrote to the Prime Minister asking him to look into the matter.

It has now transpired that parents of other children who had been receiving services given by Eden Foundation, some of them since its inception, have decided to stop taking their children to Inspire because the quality of therapy has deteriorated so much they felt they were not getting anything out of it.

In their letters, which The Malta Independent has seen, the parents have asked for the funds to be diverted to the NGO of their choice.

Parents strongly believe the government should thoroughly investigate the services being given and where public funds are going.

In their letters, parents complaining about Inspire services have said that for years they have been working hard for their children to improve and be as independent as possible.

The quality of services they knew at Eden has degenerated so much and nowadays Inspire is more like a business than an NGO that works in the interests of the people seeking its services, they said.

They pointed out that the change led to exasperation and a good number of professionals who had always placed the interests of these children first, started leaving the organisation.

Some parents went on to say that the merger between Eden and Razzett “has wiped out the mission of the Eden Foundation – that of helping people with special needs”.

They added that the Inspire management is “detached from parents and the people in charge have no idea about these children’s needs”.

Furthermore, they get the message that Inspire’s main aim is money making – the worst message that a parent of children with special needs can receive.

Inspire is led by some people whose main interest is to get paid very high salaries but lack the charisma necessary to work in such a sensitive area, they believe.

Moreover, they contend that while the NGO is accredited with certificates, it is not delivering. This is the reason why they are asking for the thousands of euros the organisation was getting for their children’s services to be diverted to the organisation of their choice.

In 2009, Eden Foundation merged with Razzett tal- Hbiberija to form Inspire and a good number of parents have been unhappy with changes since then.

In reaction to Inspire’s claims that a €200,000 annual cut in funding was affecting the services delivered, a Health Ministry spokesperson made it clear the government is very willing to work in collaboration with NGOs regarding services to the community. It therefore pays for services given but does not finance organisations.

While being willing to help people in need, it is equally keen on keeping a clean, transparent and prescriptive approach by experts in the field.

In the meantime, the Education Ministry said it has never received complaints over the funding of the services contract, concluded with Inspire in 2009. The organization has therefore never complained directly with the ministry over the funding.

The agreement has been in place for two-and-a-half years, after a former one, signed with the Eden Foundation in 1996, was revisited.

The ministry also noted it wanted to increase transparency, accountability and better suit the specialised demands of disabled students, in new agreements it signed with NGOs.

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