Jo Haylen has welcomed the news that the Berejiklian Government has finally seen sense and announced that children with severe disabilities living in full-time out-of-home care will no longer have their funding axed.
Currently, children with severe disabilities living in out-of-home care have their accommodation funded by the NSW Department of Family and Community Service (FACS) and support services they receive in the accommodation funded by the NDIS.
Despite this funding arrangement being outlined in the COAG NDIS agreement, the NSW Government had planned to cease all funding to out-of-home care providers on 1 July 2018.
This decision has caused ongoing heartache and stress to families, many of whom faced the prospect of having to relinquish custody of their children to the State Government in order for funding to be maintained.
As recently as March, NSW Minister for Disability Service Ray Williams was standing by the Government’s policy of cutting funding for these services, despite insistence from his Federal counterpart that NSW was expected to maintain this funding.
In a letter dated 17 March, the Minister stated “the NSW Government will transfer all funding for disability services into the NDIS by July 2018. This includes all funding for delivering specialist disability accommodation supports to children living in full-time or part-time care outside the family home in voluntary arrangements.”
Many out-of-home care providers have experienced difficulty in having recent invoices paid by the Department and faced the real possibility of closing their doors.
Tuesday’s backflip comes after a decision last month to backflip on planned cuts to Disability Advocacy funding, which would have ceased funding to around 50 specialists organisations including Deaf Society of NSW, Vision Australia, NSW Council for Intellectual Disability and Disability Advocacy NSW.
Quotes attributable to Member for Summer Hill, Jo Haylen MP
“Parents of children with severe disabilities are already in a balancing act and the stress of this proposal on families has been immense.
“Inner West facilities providing much needed support to our most vulnerable community members already operate on the smell of an oily rag. They haven't needed the uncertainty of the looming July 1 deadline.
“This is a win for community activists, but it shouldn't have been up to parents and carers to twist the Minister's arm. Families and those living with disability in our community need to know they are being represented by a Minister - and a Premier - that has their best interests at heart."
Quotes attributable to Acting Shadow Minister For Disability Services, Kate Washington MP
“Since the NDIS was announced the NSW Government has used it as an excuse to cut and privatise state run disability services.
“After causing months of stress and despair for families the Premier only back-flipped because the Federal Government refused to budge on out-of-home accommodation funding.
“The COAG NDIS agreement is clear. State Governments are responsible for accommodation of children in out-of-home care but the Premier refused to listen.
“The Premier should stop using the NDIS as an excuse for her privatisation agenda. We have already lost NSW run disability and home care services, and many experienced staff have left the sector entirely.
“The Premier must commit to ongoing funding for these services, so they are not cut again after the election.”