Having a spot in a day centre in Tenerife, but lacking the appropriate transport as outlined by the Law

Jorge (pseudonym) has a sibling with a permanent disability of 82%. Jorge’s life has been dedicated to ensuring the well-being of his family and ensuring his brother lives a complete life with all his rights protected. For a decade, Jorge’s brother has had a place at the Care Center for People in a Situation of Dependency due to Physical Disability (CAFF) in the Tenerife town of El Sauzal, but has never had access to adapted transportation, despite regulations in the Canary Islands stipulating this right in Decree 131/2011, dated May 17, which establishes the levels of protection of services and the criteria to determine compatibilities and incompatibilities between dependency care benefits of the System for Autonomy and Dependency Care within the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands in its article 12, section D.

If Jorge did not take the responsibility to ensure his brother’s transportation to the day center, “he would not have been able to attend.” “And this is the case for all the users of the centre,” he says.

Interestingly, the El Sauzal Day Centre is one of two in the archipelago managed by the Canary Islands Government, in this instance, through the subcontractor Grupo 5. Jorge questions how it is possible that for a decade, a right of his brother in a centre managed by the institution, and included in its legislation, has been continuously requested.

A single journey in an adapted taxi from the La Laguna municipality to El Sauzal municipality can cost the user over thirty euros. “A family may end up spending around a thousand euros per year on transportation, and my brother is not the only one at the centre facing this situation.”

Jorge ponders how families can manage this transportation cost along with the expenses involved in caring for individuals in a state of dependency. “They might have to give up on attending the centre due to lack of transportation, even though that is what these individuals might need the most.”

An extensive bureaucratic process

In February 2023, Jorge’s family lodged a complaint regarding this issue with the General Directorate of Dependency, under the Ministry of Social Welfare, Equality, Youth, Children and Families of the Canary Islands, “but we never received a response.” It was only in October 2023 that they sent a letter to the Common Deputy to facilitate discussions between the institution and the family. The Common Deputy contacted Dependency “two or three times,” and the recent response received was “a timeline of the Dependency situation experienced by my brother and acknowledgment that transportation had not been provided.” “While we understand the potential challenges within Dependency, having to wait a decade for a response and pay for transportation is a significant issue,” Jorge expresses.

“The authorities are well aware that for a decade, they have been offering an inadequate service based on their own laws,” laments the family member of the user. “We do not seek charity, we demand the Law be upheld: transportation to and from the centre.”

The impact of adapted transport in Gran Canaria

The Canarian Foundation for the Promotion of Specialized Adapted Transport (now known as the Gran Canaria Accessible Foundation) has served as a valuable tool in recent years to eliminate obstacles in daily transportation. It not only removes barriers for individuals with disabilities to access health or day centres but also helps them pursue their life goals, such as going to the cinema, running errands, borrowing books from the library, or socializing with partners and friends. As Liliana Frater shared with this publication, representing service users, it has “opened doors and possibilities to numerous individuals, even in the most remote corners of Gran Canaria.”

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