06/03/2013 05:43 EDT | Updated 08/03/2013 05:12 EDT

Alberta's Developmentally Disabled Cuts: Calgary Meeting Hears More Concern

CALGARY - There's been more concern voiced about the Alberta government's plan to cut about $42 million from certain programs for the developmentally disabled.

About 200 people turned out at a public forum in Calgary with Frank Oberle, associate minister of services for people with disabilities.

They criticized what they said was the province's lack of communication about cuts to community access programs and questioned whether the government has thought through the changes.

Some parents wondered whether decision-makers understand the financial stress of living with a developmentally disabled child.

Oberle said the province will not cut services to people who need them.

Linda Wiebe told the minister the burden is being placed on parents.

"Physically we as parents can't do it ourselves," she said at the meeting Monday. "We're already at the point where we are drained."

On Friday, 1,000 demonstrators rallied on the steps of the Alberta legislature to demand Premier Alison Redford reverse the planned reallocation of funds.

Funding for the developmentally disabled was actually increased in the March budget by $5 million to $691 million. But the government is restructuring how the money is allocated to focus more on clients and less on agencies that serve them.

Changes are supposed to go into effect July 1.

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