Balearic social welfare minister Fernanda Caro yesterday presented the strategic plan for the disabled for the period 2002 to 2005, which calls for an investment of 36.7 million euros. She said it was the first plan drawn up in the Balearics aimed at the 25'150 registered disabled, of whom 21'824 live in Majorca, 1'452 in Minorca and 1'874 in Ibiza and Formentera. One of the biggest projects will be the construction of a centre for the elderly disabled in Palma's Calle Joan Crespí, work on which may start this year, “providing we solve the planning problems we have with the Palma city council, which still has to grant a building licence,” she said. The centre will have a rehabilitation service, a day centre, and a “breathing space” facility for relatives. The ministry is also in talks with Imserso, the central social services department, for the construction of a 60 place home for people of all ages. Other projects include a home for the mentally handicapped with 30 places, one with 15 places for people with behavioural problems, 45 places in day centres and 12 new supervised flats with a capacity for five to eight persons in each. The cost of places in homes will also be revised, the government providing more funds and increasing wages. The minister promised better co-ordination with other medical services, to provide earlier treatment, and the evaluation of patients will be decentralised, with the creation of units in Ibiza and Minorca. Caro said that her department also planned to provide greater support for the families of disabled people with home helps and rest centres. Staff training will also be improved and architectural barriers removed. The plan has been drawn up after extensive talks with associations for the disables, and it is due to be approved by the government at Friday's meeting.


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