The Way We Work

The key aim of the Summer Foundation is to change human service policy and practice related to young people in aged care. The Summer Foundation uses the following tools to influence health, housing and disability services policy and practice related to this target group:


The lived experience of people with disability and families is central to developing potential solutions. Facilitating young people in aged care and their families to tell and share their stories is a powerful and effective way to influence the general public, decision makers and politicians.

Personal stories are also a way for people with disability and families to actively participate in the political process. We support people with disability and their families to influence government by:

  • Recording and sharing their personal stories
  • Providing toolkits about writing letters to politicians and making submissions
  • Conducting workshops to produce letters to politicians prior to elections and submissions to inquiries
  • Supporting people with disability to meet politicians and to make presentations to government


Research underpins the work of the Summer Foundation and provides an evidence base for policy and practice change.

Our research aims to document the health, housing and support needs of people with high and complex care needs who are living in, or at risk of placement in aged care. However, research alone is not enough to change policy and practice. The knowledge generated by our research is disseminated to both the decision-makers and the wider community.

We also distil expert knowledge and make it available in formats that are accessible to people with disability, families and workers at the grassroots. We are a knowledge hub for research about young people in aged care and potential solutions.

We have ongoing partnerships with La Trobe University and Monash University, and are collaborating with a range of government agencies, other not-for-profit organisations and universities. We have a pipeline of studies that are being published in peer-reviewed journals and have already secured over $1.7 million in research funding through partnerships this year. For more information on our research program, please contact Glenda Bishop at

To view journal articles, studies and reports that have been authored or co-authored by the Summer Foundation, please see our Research Outputs page.


We design and pilot potential solutions and then evaluate them through action research. This is an iterative process that involves designing, building, evaluation and learning. Our research and the perspectives of young people with disability in aged care, along with their families, are central to the design of these prototypes. The prototypes provide an evidence base to leverage the policy change and funding needed for replication and national scale.


We are a knowledge hub for research about young people in aged care and potential solutions. We capture, document and share the knowledge generated from our research and prototypes in order to encourage others to replicate and scale our work.