The core purpose of ACWA’s disability project, ‘Falling through the gaps? Delivering the best possible outcomes for vulnerable children and young people with disability’, is to identify practical pathways, initiatives, tools, training and other resources that will enhance sector capability and practice in this important area of the system.
As the first step in this initiative, ACWA undertook an extensive consultation with members who are providers of out of home care and other stakeholders, as well as engaging with peak bodies ACWA, Create and Youth Action and engaging extensively with Department of Communities and Justice. The objective was to assess, primarily for children and young people in out-of-home:
- The prevalence of children and young people with a diagnosed disability within this cohort
- The potential extent of undiagnosed or under-diagnosed disability within the cohort
- The nature and scope of NDIS packages and plans currently in place, and the adequacy of those plans to meet individual needs
- The potential opportunity for other children and young people to access supports through NDIS packages
- Barriers and challenges to children and young people and their carers being able to effectively access the NDIS
- Looking at those causative factors, to consider potential opportunities for improving support for these young people, consider potential opportunities for enhancing support for these young people
The review included consideration of all out-of-home care arrangements across NSW including foster care, residential care models (ITTC, ITC, THBC), Alternative Care Arrangements, Specialist Disability Services and Transitional models (TSIL, After Care).
A detailed report and summary report of the findings and opportunities has been published. Since then, ACWA has engaged with a range of stakeholder to identify key strategies to support enhanced practice in this sphere. In partnership with AbSec and DCJ, a Collaborative Action Plan has been developed which includes a program of sector capacity building events and activities across the next year, as well as identifying key areas for advocacy and ongoing engagement with service providers, government and regulatory agencies, peak bodies, carers and young people themselves.
Two key opportunities for participation and contribution by all providers, practitioners and carers with an interest in this area are:
- Collaborative Disability Community of Practice
- Online Resources library – We are collating a wide range of useful resources relating to disability into one place for ease of access for practitioners
We anticipate that this work will support consideration of this issue in relation to vulnerable children with disability who are supported by member agencies in other contexts, through programs such as Intensive Family Preservation, MST-CAN and the Family Referral Service.
Enquiries regarding ACWA’s Disability Project can be directed to Project Director Lyn Ainsworth: firstname.lastname@example.org