Safeguards in Community

CLBC believes adults with developmental disabilities and their families have the right to pursue good lives in welcoming communities. Part of a good life for people is feeling safe from harm where they live, go to school, work and play. This includes physical harm, emotional harm or financial harm.

One important way to make sure that people are safe from harm is through safeguards. Safeguards are actions that are done on purpose to help reduce the risk that someone will be harmed. CLBC has four roles in contributing to both formal and informal safeguards:

1. Formal Safeguard Initiatives

These safeguards take the form of policies, standards, or direct services that affect individuals and families. Some examples are:

  • Helping people develop person or family-centred plans that include safeguards to address the vulnerabilities that a person may have.
  • Monitoring services, including identified risks and personal safeguards that are a part of a person’s plan.
  • Quality service reviews if there are complaints about a service, or health and safety incidents.
  • Strengthening policies in areas that have to do with safeguards – like behavioural supports, monitoring, and critical incident reporting.
  • Investigating critical incidents and allegations of abuse.
  • Working in cooperation with the Advocate for Service Quality, who helps people with concerns that may not have been resolved directly with CLBC or a service provider.

2. Internal Safeguards

CLBC also uses internal safeguards. Reducing vulnerability of people within the organization helps safeguard the services on which British Columbians rely. Some examples of these internal safeguards are:

  • Health and safety procedures to reduce risks of CLBC staff , offices and services.
  • Satisfaction surveys asking for feedback from individuals, families and other stakeholders.

3. Working in Partnership with Others

There are some things that CLBC cannot do by itself, but can accomplish by partnering with other organizations. These are both formal safeguards or a mix of formal and informal safeguards. Some examples of these are:

  • Facilitating the development of community-based crisis response capacity.
  • Working with Mental Health Teams to support people with challenging behaviours or mental illness.
  • Working with Health Services for Community Living to support people with health care needs.

4. Supporting Informal Safeguards in the Community

In addition there are informal safeguards that rely on the interest, caring and goodwill of concerned citizens and organizations. CLBC is committed to providing education, support and leadership to encourage these kinds of informal safeguards. The most important informal safeguard that can help people be safe is to have unpaid relationships with fellow citizens. CLBC’s Start with Hi initiative is one example of supporting informal safeguards in community.

“The Power of Knowing Each Other: Stories about Informal Safeguards told by BC Families”

Community Living BC and Family Support Institute (FSI) have worked together to create a new safeguards resource, “The Power of Knowing Each Other: Stories about Informal Safeguards told by BC Families”.

This book contains 12 stories plus a forward and concluding story about the creative and unique connections families have built and nurtured with their family members who have a developmental disability. These relationships offer many things, all of which contribute to people living good and safe lives in welcoming communities. Please click the link below to download the online version of the book. To request a printed copy, please e-mail

 The Power of Knowing Each Other: Stories about Informal Safeguards told by BC Families (5MB pdf)

An Independent Evaluation of the CLBC Safeguards Initiative

The Service Accountability and Safeguards Project was initiated by CLBC in 2006. In 2010, an external evaluation was conducted by Dr. Michael Kendrick, internationally recognized for his expertise in the areas of safeguards and vulnerability of persons with developmental disabilities. His report provides a summary of key findings from that evaluation. To read the full report, please click here.

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