When ADHC stops and the NDIS starts...
The NDIS is an historic opportunity for people with intellectual disability to get the services they need and want.
In this position statement, NSW CID spells out our stand on how these two processes should come together to ensure the best possible outcomes for people with intellectual disability.
One transition, not two
Each existing client of Ageing, Disability and Homecare (ADHC) should face only one transition
and not two.
The movement of a person from an ADHC service to a non-government service should occur
as part of the person’s first NDIS participant plan rather than occurring before that plan.
Service providers should be given incentives to innovate and offer new and varied models to clients.
Congregate models are contrary to the objects and principles of the NDIS Act and must
not be permitted.
Keep housing independent from service provision
The NSW government should not hand over ownership of any housing to disability service providers.
Any handover of ownership should be to community housing or other independent not-for-profit housing organisations.
The government should establish a rigorous process for ensuring the suitability of any housing provider.
Give choice and control in transition
Choice and control is central to the NDIS and to the policies that have driven NSW disability services reform for the past ten years.
Choice and control will be particularly important for people with intellectual disability in ADHC supported accommodation.
People may have complex communication needs, not had the opportunity or life experience to explore decision making options and may not have had access to broader capacity building initiatives.
The following process should occur:
• In advance of an ADHC client’s first NDIS planning process, the person and any familyadvocate should be provided with skilled independent support to develop goals and aspirations and consider what supports the person wants and from which service providers.
• When developing their first NDIS plan, each ADHC client should have a real choice to move to a more independent and flexible support model than a group home.
• If residents of group homes choose to remain together, they should be able to choose the support provider for the home.
Complex behavioural needs MUST be met
Complex behavioural needs require highly skilled and flexible disability support often including input from a range of disability and mental health professionals. To date, these supports have generally been provided by ADHC with assistance in some cases from health services.
An extremely robust process is necessary if complex behavioural needs are to be met in the non-government sector.
Transparency is needed around the Government’s view on current sector capacity in this area so that people can have visibility of organisations’ expertise when making choice.
It takes time to build a new and expanded workforce with the highly specialised skills required and there needs to be a safety net for people with intellectual disability, staff and services in the short to medium term.
A commitment is also needed that NSW will not withdraw from service delivery in this area until the market and NDIS system is developed enough to ensure people’s needs will be met – such as evidence that the quality and safeguard system works to protect people with complex behavioural needs.
Advocacy remains essential
ADHC funds vital advocacy services including self, individual, legal, family and systemic advocacy, though the current demand for advocacy exceeds organisations capacity to deliver this.
This is problematic as such significant transformation occurs.
The NSW and Commonwealth Governments must ensure continuation and enhancement of the role of advocacy.While cross disability advocacy is very valuable, people with intellectual disability also want and need their own voice through some intellectual disability advocacy groups.
Maintain the functions of vital ADHC services – behaviour, health and Community Justice Program
ADHC has a range of integral structures to support high quality behaviour support both in individual cases and through capacity building. These include the Statewide Behaviour Intervention Service and professional teams in the Community Justice Program (CJP) and Integrated Services Program.
Community Justice Program
The CJP provides a high level of specialised support to people with intellectual disability who have major histories of offending.
There are indications that the NDIA will take a narrower view of its role than the CJP creating major risks of reoffending and imprisonment
for existing clients of the CJP and others with similar needs. The specialist skills and functions of these services need to be maintained in the NDIS.
The NSW Government needs to resolve this issue with the NDIA to ensure this group continues to receive at least existing levels of support.
The significant NSW investment and successes should not be lost – or they will continue to bear the cost as people will return to, and remain in, the gaol system.
ADHC also funds vital health services for people with intellectual disability, for example a network of specialist nurses in each ADHC
area and regional psychiatry clinics. ADHC, NSW Health and the NDIA must establish arrangements to maintain these services.
NSW CID have been strong and leading advocates on these issues for some time but will be continuing our advocacy with the state and Commonwealth government and other key influencers.
Ensuring the needs and wants of people with intellectual disability are front and centre of any major policy decision is key.
Click here to keep updated on our progress.