New autism support service unveiled

Australia’s first national autism helpline has just been launched, offering help for anyone seeking information, support or guidance about autism. This free and confidential service has been developed by autism peak body Amaze and can be accessed via phone, email, and webchat service.

Public advocate raises concerns about supported residential facilities

She said supported residential services were originally designed as private accommodation with limited support, for people who were frail and elderly but not yet ready for nursing home care. Instead Dr Pearce said they had become the default institutions for people with a disability and mental illness.

Disability Support Workers: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and communication needs

In Victoria’s second wave, we saw COVID-19 outbreaks in over 60 group homes. Achieving high-levels of vaccination among workers is critical if people with disability are to be protected against COVID-19. Between March and April 2021 300 Disability Support Workers were asked about their vaccine intentions, who they trust to provide information, and other concerns that they have. This report presents the findings from the survey.

Support workers say information vacuum surrounds vaccinations

Many of the workers who’re caring for people with disability have been waiting for news about when they might be able to get a COVID-19 vaccination. Some say they’re worried they’re going to miss out because of what they describe as an “information vacuum”. It’s particularly a problem for the carers who are independent contractors … getting their work through Uber-style apps.. with limited contact with disability service providers.

Disability Gateway opens for business

This federally-funded service aims to be a one-stop shop for disability information and services.  Mary Mallett, the CEO of Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA),  hoped the gateway will refer people to disability advocacy services when needed. But she said this could pose problems for advocacy services, many of which were already at capacity around the country.

Vital support for Australians with disability cancelled during COVID-19 pandemic

Disabled and other vulnerable Australians were among the worst affected when parts of the country shut down to defeat COVID-19. Its estimated around a third of people living with disability weren’t able to access vital support because services were cancelled, leaving them even more isolated and vulnerable. That’s also highlighted just how difficult it can be to access that support in the first place.

State of the Disability Sector 2020

The State of the Disability Sector Report 2020 includes data from the Annual Market Survey, which saw 410 disability service providers share their experiences.

Providers continue to be concerned about the lack of access to advocacy. Only 20 per cent believe there is sufficient advocacy for the people they support. ‘The independent advocacy sector continues to be vastly under-funded by all levels of government, which greatly affects its ability to reach out to people with disability and their family to provided much-needed independent advocacy assistance.’”

NDIS Worker Screening Check

The National Disability Insurance Scheme Worker Screening Check (NDIS Check) will start on 1 February 2021. The NDIS Check is a way to ensure that people who work with NDIS participants do not present an unacceptable risk to participants.

Regulated Restrictive Practices Guide

This guide explains what a restrictive practice is, assists in identifying each regulated restrictive practice and provides practice advice consistent with a positive behaviour support framework  and contemporary evidence informed practice, with the intention to reduce and eliminate the use of restrictive practices. 

Much Needed Clarity from the Commission

The NDIS Quality & Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) recently released the Regulated Restrictive Practices Guide V1 – October 2020 (RP Guide). This is a welcome document from the NDIS Commission as it provides the much-needed clarity on previously grey areas of policy and practice.

NSW government pledges support for disability advocacy

New South Wales disability groups are breathing a sigh of relief after the state government announced it will continue funding advocacy for the next three years.  The NSW government’s commitment of $13 million a year ends an uncertain period for advocacy groups, who had no funding certainty beyond mid-2021.