Ms R Steven-Smith MLA
Minister for Disability
GPO Box 1020,
Canberra, ACT 2601
Dear Ms Steven-Smith MLA
Please tell us, the organisations listed below, which government agency or agencies are responsible for funding supported accommodation for children with disability when they do not or cannot live at home? As this matter is urgent for several very vulnerable children, we would appreciate an answer in the next 10 working days.
We are aware that the NDIA says the NDIS is not responsible: a NDIS web-page says "the Community Services system" (which apparently means state/territory funded services) have responsibility for "arranging out of home care for children subject to child protection orders, including making these arrangements sustainable for children with disability". We note that "arranging" is not the same as "funding". The children we are concerned about are not subject to child protection orders, so the clause does not apply in their case.
These young people cannot live at home due to the ongoing level of care they require that cannot be provided by a parent or guardian, their homes are not physically appropriate for them to live in and they are not subject to any care orders or child concern reports. With the refusal of the NDIA to provide services for them they are being referred to the Child and Youth Protection Service who the NDIA claim are "responsible for meeting the accommodation needs of children where their parents are not able to provide this support".
In reality, these young people will not be supported by the Care and Protection system as there will be no out of home care available to them given their high level support needs. However, once these young people turn 18 years of age they will be eligible for accommodation support in their plans. As an insurance scheme it would be expected to meet the needs of all eligible people including those aged 12 - 17 years.
Can you please inform us where these children can get advocacy support to help them access supported accommodation? Please note: we are asking about actual help, not where these children can be put on an indefinite waiting list. The advice we have received is that these young peoples' "accommodation support needs" are personal support requirements which should be covered by the scheme.
The following organisations are interested in this issue and in your response:
Speaking Out for Autism Spectrum Disorder (SOfASD) in the ACT
Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)
Woden Community Service
Chair, Speaking Out for Autism Spectrum Disorder (SOfASD)
a voice for people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the ACT
This letter was also sent to:
- The Hon Christian Porter MP, Minister for Social Services
- The Hon Jane Prentice MP, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services
The response from Ms Steven-Smith MLA, ACT Minister for Disability, is at http://sofasd.org.au/d7/node/196
A response from the Commonwealth Department of Social Security is available below.
Both responses ignore the questions asked. They do not tell us:
- which government agency or agencies are responsible for funding supported accommodation for children with disability when they do not or cannot live at home; or
- where these children can get advocacy support to help them access supported accommodation.
We interpret the failure/refusal to answer these questions to mean that no agency at either level of government is responsible for meeting these essential needs of very vulnerabe citizens.
Basically, the ACT Minister says "responsibility for this matter lies with the Federal Government". The Commonwealth lists a few of its responsibilities ... which do not include responsibility for meeting the accommodation needs of a child. So both levels of Government deny that its their responsibility.