Families, in all their diversity, provide the overwhelming majority of care and support to people with disability. For many people with disability, a good life is built on the foundations of social and economic support from a family that is functioning well. That is, a family able to communicate, make decisions, solve problems and maintain relationships. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) recognises the current rationed and crisis driven state based disability systems undermine families by forcing members to leave paid employment to provide care.
This can result in severe financial hardship leaving many people without much needed social, emotional and practical support. In response to the extraordinary pressure caring placed on many families the service system offered respite or a break from caring.
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), the agency responsible for implementing the NDIS, is rethinking family support, asking: ‘What would it take to enable the family and the person with a disability to live an ordinary life?’
The NDIA will provide family support to achieve the following outcomes:
- Families have the support they need to care
- Families know their rights and advocate effectively for their family member with disability
- Families are able to gain access to desired services, programs and activities in their community
- Families have succession plans
- Families enjoy health and wellbeing
The Summer Foundation has learnt from its work in the NDIS trial sites that it’s important that individuals and families go into planning meetings well prepared, and are able to explain to the Planner what reasonable and necessary support means to their family.
Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres provide free information on local carer support, disability and community services. Contact your nearest Centre on 1800 052 222.
For more information on the NDIS supporting families go to the website here.