Parents and carers
Multinational parents on weekend getaway
The Multicultural Communities Council South Australia (MCCSA) and Cara treated six parents of children with a disability to a weekend respite break in Carrickalinga.
The break, predominantly funded by the MCCSA, acknowledges the additional difficulties for non-English speaking families that have a child with a disability – such as language barriers and a reduced support network from living away from extended family.
The couples, who hailed from Bangladesh, Germany and Malta, enjoyed a relaxing weekend of doing whatever they pleased – including walks, fishing and socialising.
“It was reassuring and helpful to spend time with other parents in the same situation and to enjoy the company,” said one of the parents, Sabine Schreiber. “Parents can become quite isolated and may not have the time or energy to keep in touch with what services and options are available for your child. We appreciate the advice and ideas.”
“Although nobody knew each other previously, and come from different parts of the world, everyone got on so well because they have so much in common,” said Cara excursion organiser, Frauke Husner.
Cara hopes to host more parent getaways for more multicultural and local families in the future.
New parent/carer support network
Cara is launching a new support group especially for parents and carers of people with a disability.
We are setting up the group in response to feedback from our recent Cara Consults research, which highlighted the need for parents and carers to have the opportunity to get together in an informal setting to discuss matters in common.
Called the Cara Support Network, the new group will offer parents and carers the opportunity to share experiences, advice and ideas related to supporting and caring for loved ones.
The first meetings are scheduled to take place in September. Experienced Cara staff will be on hand to offer advice and information.
Support Network South
When: Tuesday 11 September (please rsvp by Thursday 6 Sept)
Where: Glandore Community Centre, 25 Naldera Street, Glandore
Times: Session One at 12:00 pm – 1:50 pm or Session Two at 6:00 pm – 7:50 pm
Includes light refreshments
Support Network North
When: Tuesday 25 September (please rsvp by Thursday 20 Sept)
Where: Enfield Community Centre, 540 Regency Road, Enfield
Times: Session One at 12:00 pm – 1:50 pm or Session Two at 6:00 pm – 7:50 pm
Includes light refreshments
Important! You must confirm your attendance in advance (for set-up/catering purposes) by calling Cara Reception tel: (08) 8347 4588.
The National Disability and Carer Alliance are hosting FREE forums on the National Disability Insurance Scheme for people with a disability, family members or carers.
Topics for discussion include:
- Assessment, review & complaints mechanisms
- Reasonable & necessary supports
- Individual choice & control
|Adelaide forum||Port Augusta forum|
|28 August 2012||30 August 2012|
|10am to 2:30pm (lunch provided)||9:30am to 12:30pm (refreshments provided)|
|Sunnybrae Function Centre, Tikalara Street, Regency Park||Crossroads Christian Centre, 5 Seaview Rd|
Cara becomes chartered territory for children
Cara became the 48th organisation in South Australia to endorse the Charter of Rights for Children and Young People in Care when it received its certificate in June.
“While we have always been involved with young people in care as part of our respite programs and camps, it is only in the last 18 months that we have taken on a more specific role,” explains Todd Williams, Executive Manager, Respite and Client Services
“Under an arrangement with Families SA, we provide a therapeutic care model of support to 11 young people under guardianship in three locations. Cara works with them to provide stable, safe and nurturing environments in preparation for adulthood, ultimately supporting their transition into suitable long term accommodation.”
“Our values and our focus on rights already align with the Charter pretty well so endorsing was straightforward for the Board and the leadership team.
“The right to be heard and make choices, to be fully involved with decisions made about what happens in the house and to have a secure private space to call their own, all these are strongly stated in the Charter and also very important to young people living with disability, learning to manage their behaviour as they develop as citizens and move towards more independent living arrangements.”
Cara has incorporated the Charter into its policies and practice and features information about the Charter and a link on the Cara website.
Above right: Cara CEO Denice Wharldall (bottom left) signs the Charter certificate watched by Guardian Pam Simmons (bottom right) and the Cara executive team (back).
Photo supplied by the office of the Guardian for Children & Young People
Funding to supplement rising electricity costs
People covered by a Commonwealth concession card who have additional home energy costs because they rely on essential medical equipment may be eligible to receive extra assistance.
As part of the Australian Government’s Household Assistance Package for a Clean Energy Future, a payment of $140 will be paid annually to cover the change in energy running costs from 1 July 2012 for essential medical equipment.
This may include ventilators, respirators, feeding devices, electric wheelchairs, oxygen concentrators, suction pumps, nebulizers, bolus pumps, air mattresses and even heating or cooling equipment for those who cannot control their body temperatures.
To qualify for the Essential Medical Equipment Payment, a medical practitioner must certify that a piece of equipment is essential to manage the person’s condition, and the person has been advised to use the equipment.
The Essential Medical Equipment Payment can be claimed through Centrelink from July 2012. Once claimed, the Essential Medical Equipment Payment will be paid annually until the person’s circumstances change.
To find out more, read the fact sheet
Individualised Funding working for Cara families
A recent research report has shown that individualised funding offers freedom and flexibility and relieves pressure for families caring for a family member with a disability.
The research, conducted by Julia Farr Association’s shopfront Purple Orange, surveyed twenty families from both Cara and the ACH Group who participated in a pilot project. The project transformed HACC-funded in-home respite packages into individualised funding/consumer directed dollar-amount packages which give families control and choice over how they purchase their support needs.
The results of the research give encouraging signals of progress, with participants enjoying emotional and practical benefits from their involvement in the scheme.
For example, families that previously only used their packages for in-home support care were now provided the option to use the funds in other ways that give them respite from full-time caring, such as transport, equipment, household support, holidays, community activities or house cleaning.
“We never used to use [the funding] that much… now because [we] have choice and use money for other things [it] has relieved a lot of pressure,” is one of the participant’s response to the transformation to individualised funding.
The project shows that respite should not be exclusively confined to formal supports, but can be extended to recharge batteries, reclaim hope for the future, take a break, and spend quality time with loved ones. Importantly, the project has shown participants value the opportunities for control and choice over their support arrangements.
Free incontinence support for adults
Families who run out of funding for continence items can apply to Disability SA for extra support of up to $2,000 per year. Disability SA will provide community clients with a limited amount of essential continence items when the person’s health or safety is at risk without this support. For the applicant to obtain this assistance, he/she must be registered with the Commonwealth Government’s Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) and have expended their full CAPS allocation for the year on the purchase of continence items.
If you would like to apply, contact your service coordinator at Disability SA. If you have any queries, contact Frauke or Glenn at Cara on (08) 8347 4588.
Arm yourself against abuse & neglect
Abuse can happen to any person in any family.
Children and vulnerable adults are powerless to protect themselves from abuse and will only be protected if responsible adults take action on their behalf. The best way to become a responsible adult is to arm yourself with information on how to recognise abuse and neglect and what to do if you spot the indicators.
Children and adults with a disability become even more vulnerable to abuse and neglect as they can be perceived as ‘soft targets’ by abusers. Neglect can also become a factor for people with a disability, given the higher propensity for stress and strain on their parents and carers.
This is an issue Cara takes seriously as a provider of care services for adults and children. Cara has taken action by appointing a dedicated Child Safe Environments Coordinator earlier this year, Colleen Sheedy-Palethorpe, to enforce the fight against abuse and neglect for children in Cara’s care. Much of the learning is also applicable to vulnerable adults.
Colleen’s main role is to train all Cara staff in contact with people with disabilities to recognise abuse and neglect, how to report incidences and provide a safe environment.
“A safe environment should not only be free from risk and danger, but also where children and adults with a disability feel respected, valued and encouraged to reach their full potential,” says Colleen.
Learn and become empowered
Colleen’s passion for protecting the vulnerable arose from an incident in her young adult years when she witnessed child abuse but didn’t know how to act, perhaps even making things worse for the child by confronting the abuser directly.
“But now because I know what to do, I feel empowered that I can help.”
There are many indicators of physical, emotional, sexual abuse and neglect, of which some include bruises in unlikely places, burns, abnormally high or low appetite, unsuitable clothing, fear of being left alone, depression and aggression.
It’s up to you
If you work with children or vulnerable adults, you are a mandatory reporter of abuse, and are legally required to call the 24-hour Abuse Report Line on 131 478.
“With the knowledge from this training, you too can be part of the solution to this serious issue in society,” says Colleen.
If you are a Cara employee who wants to know more, contact Colleen at firstname.lastname@example.org. General information can be found at dcsi.gov.au
People with disability gain stronger voices
Recent months have brought significant development in the funding of services for people with a disability in Australia. To compliment the support of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the South Australian Minister for Disabilities backed a host of recommendations made in the Social Inclusion Commissioners final report on disability - Strong Voices - in late December 2011. The state government supports 16 of the 34 recommendations.
My money, my choice
The most influential change to the current system will be the implementation of a universal model of individualised funding. Everyone who receives six or more hours a week of disability services will receive a personalised budget to direct service supports in ways that best meet their own needs and ambitions, enabling those with a disability to exercise greater control and choice in their lives
"For too long, people with disabilities have been told what services they will receive, when and how they will receive them," says South Australian Premier, Jay Weatherill.
"We want to provide greater opportunity for people with a disability to take control of their own lives and make decisions just as any other South Australian does."
The government will work with not-for-profit organisations such as Cara to support their clients in the transition to individualised funding to transition smoothly to a National Disability Insurance Scheme.
My voice, my choice
In addition to this commitment, the state government promises to draft a new Disability Act that is more reflective of the rights and aspirations of people with a disability. The role of the Minister's Disability Advisory Council (MDAC) will also be broadened to independently monitor disability reform and service standards and report their findings to Parliament.
Accessibility is set to improve in public transport, including routine scheduling of wheelchair accessible buses; as well as in the adoption of universal design principles for all new state government projects, promoting greater access to community facilities and public spaces for people with a disability.
The federal government will provide $600,000 to support an extra 120 people with a disability to access training and provide improved support to gain employment, and a Disability Justice Plan will improve protection for people with a disability in the criminal justice system.
Cara looks forward to embracing all the projected positive changes in the industry, which provide people with disabilities increased and improved options in everyday life.