News & Media Releases
Cara COVID-19 update on Wednesday, April 1
This week, we became aware of a confirmed case of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) of a Cara staff member.
This staff member is based at Cara’s head office, and does not have any face-to-face contact with Cara customers.
Our staff member immediately self-isolated after they learned they had been in close contact with a person outside of the Cara community, who had a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. This is in line with Australian Government guidelines. We have been working closely with SA Health and we have implemented our own precautionary measures in our management of this situation at our head office.
Cara has had a COVID-19 response plan in place, with careful planning around every possible scenario. All of our staff have completed infection prevention training and we have an emphasis on hand hygiene, including a range of resources for staff and customers to support good hand hygiene. Cara is working to secure stocks of highly-sought-after Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and this will be distributed if and when it is needed.
At Cara, we work alongside some of South Australia’s most vulnerable people and this is a responsibility we do not take lightly. We are focussed on protecting the health and safety of our customers and staff, and providing the best support possible in these difficult times.
We continue to follow Australian Government and State Government requirements in relation to COVID-19, and we will be regularly sharing updates on social media and on our website.
In the meantime, we are continuing to provide support to our staff member and the Cara Community wishes them all the best in their recovery.
Please note: We emailed all of our Cara customers and their nominated contacts earlier today. If you did not receive this email, please check your spam folders. You can update your latest email address (and other contact details) with our Cara Connect team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Cara COVID-19 update on Thursday, March 26
An update for our Cara Community on how Cara is responding to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. Some of this information we’ve already shared but we thought it would be good to set it out in one place.
Supported Independent Living supports are continuing
Cara has now requested that all non-essential visitors and contractors stop attending our Supported Independent Living (SIL) customers’ homes. We recognise that our SIL customers who rely on Cara’s supports 24/7 are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. We continue to work with customers, their families and other important people so they can maintain their important connections.
Our high-risk customers have been identified as a priority
Customers who use CPAP, BIPAP, neublisers, atomising machines and who rely on oxygen are particularly at risk from COVID-19. These customers have appropriate supports. We have also reviewed risk assessments.
Most Short Term Accommodation, Home & Community Support and holiday options are suspended
Cara has suspended the majority of our Short Term Accommodation (STA), Home & Community Support (HCS) and holiday options, including Personalised Day Options in Port Lincoln, Kids Club, Camps for Kids and Getaways. Many of these services would be affected by government directions around social distancing. This approach is also to ensure we can continue providing support for our most vulnerable SIL customers who have limited or no outside support. We will continue working with STA and HCS customers with limited or no outside support for as long as possible.
At Cara, we recognise our work is alongside some of the state’s most vulnerable people. This is a responsibility we do not take lightly. We have made difficult decisions around suspension early so as to provide as much notice as possible. We hope to be able to recommence our suspended services as soon as possible.
Cara has a detailed plan on infection prevention and infection control
While no Cara customers or staff have reported testing positive to COVID-19, we have detailed plans in place should a customer or staff member return a positive COVID-19 test.
All Cara staff have completed updated training on hand hygiene, infection prevention and infection control
This has been delivered through an online course, as well as virtual training sessions from our expert staff.
Most office-based staff will be working remotely
This follows government recommendations around social distancing. All of our staff are contactable when working remotely and this is designed to ensure the continuation of important services to support our customers, families and our staff working directly with customers.
Communication is key
Our customers and their families and important people have been communicated with by telephone by our Cara Connect team and then followed up with email information. We regularly post information on our Social Media channels and here on the Cara website
Cara continues to seek supplies of sanitisation and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
These PPE supplies are ordered and distributed by our Procurement team to make sure supplies are available for customers and staff in SIL services. We are continually seeking new sources of these supplies, including hand sanitiser, disinfectant, gloves and masks as the COVID-19 Pandemic changes rapidly.
If you work in a business or industry that has been suspended, and you have supplies of hand sanitiser, disinfectant wipes or other supplies that you are able to donate to Cara, please email email@example.com.
Cara is recruiting new staff to keep up with demand
Cara is recruiting new staff from related industries, such as teaching and child care, as well as industries which have been suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, including staff from the airline, hospitality and fitness industries. Candidates must pass the relevant clearances and their values must align with Cara’s values. Successful candidates will receive on-the-job training and be supported to obtain their qualifications in Disability.
See all our current job vacancies and apply online here.
Cara will continue to plan and respond to evolving needs of our customers and staff of Possible People now and in the future.
Cara & the disability sector now hiring
Click on the image above to download a two-page flyer with information.
At a time when other businesses are shutting their doors and standing down employees, the disability support and aged care industries are ready to welcome these workers.
Non-profit disability provider Cara says it welcomes new staff from a range of industries as it needs more staff and it needs them now.
“Cara cannot and will not close during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s not an option. We are expanding our workforce during this time,” Cara Chief Executive Liz Cohen says.
“We support some of the state’s most vulnerable people with disabilities who rely on us for everyday support – anything from personal care, day-to-day living, right up to emotional support and mental health support.
“We have to keep operating and we’re ready for new staff to join us immediately in the coming months. Whether you stay with us for a short time or you start a new career with Cara, we need you.”
Some jobseekers, like School Support Officers (SSOs) or child care workers, will have obviously transferable skills., Other candidates will bring their own skill set which is valuable in its own way.
“To the people from the airline and hospitality industry, you have highly valued people skills. As soon as you have the relevant regulatory clearances to work with children and vulnerable adults, we’ll train you to work alongside our customers with disability to give them that incredible support.
“In times like this, it’s more important than ever that Cara’s customers have staff on whom they can rely. If you’re ready to make a step into one of the most rewarding careers there is, contact Cara today. You can see all our vacancies and apply online at www.cara.org.au/careers.”
Cara staff have been provided with extra training around infection prevention and the organisation has ample stocks of hygiene products like hand sanitiser, soap and personal protective equipment.
Cara has a Pandemic Response Plan in place with a long-term strategy to support its customers, especially those who are most vulnerable, to ensure they thrive during times of social distancing and self-isolation. Also, any staff who join Cara as permanent part-time or full-time staff will have immediate access to paid special leave should they need to self-isolate or become sick with COVID-19, Ms Cohen says.
Cara support worker Penny Babaniotis, 24, says she welcomes new staff with diverse backgrounds to join her at Cara.
“It’s amazing and fulfilling work, perfect for people who are interested in working with people,” Ms Babaniotis says.
“It’s pretty cool, too, because I work with a couple of women in their 20s like me, we really reminisce about things we watched on TV when we were children, we listen to music, joke about songs and it’s super fun, I love that.
“I get to work with customers doing community stuff, personal care – including some pretty vibrant hair-dye, from time to time, Emma loves it! – as well as support with cooking, independence and stuff like that.
“We all bring something different to the table and it’s awesome to be able to connect. My customers are super-fashionable, too – everyone has their own style and I love how on-trend they are with their clothes and hair.”
Jobseekers can see all Cara’s vacancies and apply online at www.cara.org.au/careers
COVID-19 information from Cara - Latest information on Thursday, March 19
Dear Cara Community
We are planning for every scenario which could arise from the COVID-19 situation. We have a Pandemic Response plan in place which we have implemented and we are working with all of our customers, their important people and our staff of Possible People to respond to this situation.
Our Executive team has been in meetings with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), the Commonwealth Department of Human Services, SA Health and Disability SA to discuss strategies that will affect our customers. This senior leadership team is meeting daily and is in constant contact so Cara can respond as the situation changes.
Special leave provisions for staff who have to self-isolate due to the Australian Government’s guidelines around COVID-19 are available. Staff who can work remotely are doing so with office-based staff working on alternate days to each other. We do this to prevent infection and ensure our office-based staff can provide continual support to our staff working directly with customers.
At Cara, we work alongside some of South Australia’s most vulnerable people and it is a responsibility we do not take lightly. We are focussed on providing the best support possible in these difficult times.
Thank you for working together with us.
Liz Cohen, Cara Chief Executive
You will all have read and heard a lot of information and media coverage about the global spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Emergency planning is well underway to deal with the spread of the virus in Australia.
Here at Cara, we are committed to keeping our customers, children and adults with disability, and our staff of Possible People safe. One of our values is ‘We are Careful’ and taking a careful approach of our management of the COVID-19 outbreak is extremely important to us.
Cara has measures in place in an effort to protect our customers, employees and families from the spread of the virus.
We will also regularly update our website and Cara's Facebook page.
We are continuing to follow the advice of Commonwealth and State Governments and regulatory bodies for staff who have returned from overseas locations. We are reviewing our policies and procedures and have developed a Cara COVID-19 Response Plan to ensure that the quality of our service continues during these challenging times.
What are we doing to help prevent the spread of the virus in our Cara Community?
We are also stepping up our infection prevention processes at customers’ homes, Cara services and Cara offices, which includes but is not limited to:
- Ensuring staff follow current self-isolation requirements, as set out by the Commonwealth Government.
- Postponing any events or large-scale meetings which could present a risk to our Cara Community – this includes the postponement of our Possible Picnic at the Adelaide Zoo on Sunday, April 5. Customers would have received a hard copy invitation in the mail. We will advise a new date in the future and thank you for your understanding as we postpone this event.
- Communicating to staff and visitors to our sites about the importance of staying home if they are unwell;
- Increasing the amount of hand sanitiser, antibacterial wipes and other cleaning solutions available to staff to clean customers’ homes and promote the importance of good hand hygiene amongst our staff - staff can follow their normal procedure to order supplies.
- Providing regular updates to staff, customers and families about our infection control measures and pandemic planning as the situation changes.
What does this mean for you?
We value everyone in our Cara Community, and supporting the health and safety of our customers and staff remains our highest priority. This is a situation that is continuing to evolve and we'll continue to keep in touch with you. We will be providing regular updates to our Cara Community by email. If you are a customer or an authorised customer contact and you have not received any of our COVID-19 email communications, please contact our Cara Connect team and provide your email address so that we can keep you up to date. You can contact Cara Connect by telephone on 08 8347 4588 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to update your details.
If you have any specific questions relating to individual situations, please contact SA Health’s Communicable Disease Control Branch (24 hours, 7 days a week) on 1300 232 272. We ask our customers and their important people to support our infection control processes and protect people with disability as they have been identified by health experts as a vulnerable group.
Please do not visit customer homes or other Cara services at this time if you:
- Are required to self-isolate. The most up-to-date information is at www.health.gov.au; Have been in contact with a recently confirmed case of COVID-19, or
- Are unwell, especially if you have symptoms cough, shortness of breath and fever.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact the Cara Connect team on 08 8347 4588. Thanks to everyone in our Cara Community for working together during this time.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Latest information as at Friday, March 6, 2020
At Cara, the safety of our customers, children and adults with disability, and our staff, is our highest priority.
As everyone would be aware, in South Australia, emergency planning is well underway to deal with the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the State.
There are a number of measures that have been implemented by Commonwealth and State Governments to meet minimum World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, and Cara is adhering to these guidelines with staff who have returned from overseas travel destinations that are considered high risk of transmission for the virus.
We are also stepping up our infection control processes across our services, and at our head office.
This is a situation that is continuing to evolve and we'll continue to update our customers and families. We are developing our own COVID-19 response plan to ensure that the quality of our service provision continues for everyone that we support.
The Australian Government is providing regular updates HERE
Bouncing around thanks to Vuly
When you’re a child or teenager staying in Cara’s Short Term Accommodation (STA) this year, you’ll be getting a bit of extra bounce in your stay!
That’s because our friends at Vuly Play have generously donated a trampoline, which is destined for one of our STAs in the southern suburbs.
Vuly told us they love to support organisations that do good work and they found us! We were only too happy to “jump at the chance” for one of their medium trampolines.
Trampolines are great for children and young people of all abilities. In fact, Vuly say that trampolines are great for people of all ages as they can help with:
- Increased circulation
- Improved balance and coordination
- Better core strength
- Improved bone density
- Increased cardiovascular fitness
- Regulation of the metabolism
- Increased muscle strength
However, if vigorous exercise isn’t something you can do, it doesn’t matter. Our Cara staff will support you so you can use the trampoline in a way which suits you – even if it’s just relaxing on your back with some gentle movements and watching the sky.
Thanks to Vuly for their support of Cara.
If you’d like to bounce around with us in Children’s STA, find out more information or contact Cara Connect to make a booking.
Mount Gambier disability leader awarded scholarship prize
Cara has named Mount Gambier's Kylie Withers as the recipient of their 2018 Nicole Senter Scholarship.
Cara awards the Nicole Senter Scholarship every two years in honour of the late Nicole Senter, a Cara customer and Board Director who was renowned for her grit, determination and love of learning.
Open to Cara staff who are Australian citizens or permanent residents and studying beyond their Certificate III or IV in disability, the scholarship will see Kylie receive $5000 towards further study.
Welcome to the new Home of Possible
Cara's two offices at Woodville and Glenunga have combined. Now, all of our Possible People are located at the corner of Adam and Manton Streets, Hindmarsh.
Cara has grown so much with the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) we simply couldn’t fit all of our staff at our old office locations.
Our new office is easily-accessible with public transport on the city fringe (we're just behind the Entertainment Centre) and it’s fully accessible for people of all abilities.
Our teams can more easily work together to get on with Cara’s most important business of all – finding possible for the children and adults with disability whom we work alongside.
You’ll find all of Cara’s office-based staff at Unit 1, 2-4 Adam St, Hindmarsh 5007 (enter off Manton St).
Camping fun for children with disability in South East
Children and teenagers with disabilities are on Cara’s first-ever South East Camps for Kids camp.
Seven campers with disabilities have been staying in Robe from Tuesday April 17 to Thursday, April 19.
Under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Camps for Kids offers children and teens with disabilities the chance to learn, grow in their independence and, most importantly, have fun while they’re doing it.
Cara Service Manager Kylie Withers says everything the campers experience is designed to support them towards independence.
Learning for life at Cara’s Camps for Kids in Wallaroo
Learning life skills has never been more fun at Cara’s Camps for Kids.
Twelve campers with disabilities are staying on the Yorke Peninsula from today (Monday, April 12) to Thursday, April 19.
Under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Camps for Kids offers children and teens with disabilities the chance to learn, grow in their independence and, most importantly, have fun while they’re doing it.
Cara Camps for Kids Team Leader Hannah Woolford says everything the campers experience is designed to support them towards independence.
Wonderland Awaits at Willochra Camp For Kids
Children living with disabilities will experience all the fun of a winter wonderland this week, at one of Cara’s annual Camps for Kids.
The camp, taking place in Willochra from Tuesday, July 18 to Friday, July 21, allows children and teenagers with disabilities to experience adventure, fun and try new things.
The camp, now in its third year, will host 20 campers aged 10 to 17, with the support of 20 student volunteers from Trinity College Gawler as well as Cara’s expert support staff.
The campers will get to experience a variety of different activities including lunch with the Port Pirie Lions and a visit to Gladstone Gaol. Campers will also be browsing local op-shops for a winter wonderland disco dressup for the final evening celebrations.
Camp fun is an annual event for girls with disabilities in Clare
All aboard the fun train! Girls and teenagers with disabilities will be visiting the Clare Valley Model Trains tomorrow from about 10.30am as one of the fun activities for children of all abilities at Cara’s annual Camps for Kids.
It’s one of the traditions of the annual camp, which happens with the fantastic support of Lions Club of Clare as well as other local organisations and businesses.
Camps for Kids team leader Kelsey Ulstrup says “the Clare Lions Club are the foundation of this camp, they organise all the activities and provide all the food. We are so grateful for their support”.
Volunteers from the Clare Valley Model Trains donate the service to the campers, volunteers and Cara staff and it’s one of the highlights of the camp. Also on the agenda is a visit to the Blyth Cinema, which is fully booked out for Cara’s campers and also donated.
This camp in Clare is for girls only as another camp in January, the Jack Roberts Camp, is for boys only. For the rest of the year, boys and girls attend Cara camps together.
Sensory & Adventure Garden officially opens in Port Augusta
People of all abilities will be able to enjoy Cara’s new Sensory & Adventure Garden after it officially opens in Port Augusta West tomorrow (Friday, November 18) from 10.30am.
The Sensory & Adventure Garden was voted for by the community in the Fund My Idea round, with $20,000 in funding granted from the Government of South Australia’s Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA).
The garden has grown in the yard of one of Cara’s disability respite houses in Port Augusta West, creating a sensory oasis to delight people of all abilities. Among the garden’s features is a sensory path with different textures, so anyone walking or using a wheelchair can feel the change in the terrain. There’s a wall of sound where garden-goers can create their own beautiful, unique noise, scented plants to close the eyes and inhale, a water feature with trickling brook, trampoline, water and sand play, vegetables in raised garden beds and a swing to while away the hours.
The Good Guys Mile End introduce Australia-first ‘Quiet Hour’ shopping for people with autism and sensory overload
The TVs will be switched off, the fluorescent lights dimmed and its music lowered, as The Good Guys Mile End trials its first ever ‘Quiet Hour’ of shopping this Saturday, June 4 from 8.30am to 9.30am at the Mile End Homemaker Centre, off Railway Tce, Mile End.
Recognising that the average shopping experience can be overwhelming for someone with autism, The Good Guys Mile End is partnering with Cara, one of South Australia’s largest disability-services providers, to make shopping more inclusive in what’s believed to be a national first.
Staff from Cara’s Specialist Services team have worked with The Good Guys team members to make shopping at The Good Guys a more calming experience.
Cara Camp for Kids in Port Lincoln in May
From horse and carriage rides, swimming with creatures of the deep or a friendly BBQ, Port Lincoln and Tumby Bay people, clubs and businesses have thrown their support behind Cara’s annual Camp for Kids.
The camp, taking place in Port Lincoln from Friday, May 27 to Monday, May 30, allows Eyre Peninsula children and teenagers who have disabilities to experience adventure, fun and try new things.
New look for Cara
Cara, one of South Australia’s largest disability-services providers, celebrates 21 years of operation with a refreshed look.
It comes as Cara expands to provide services in the Yorke Peninsula and the South East, supporting adults with disabilities in Kadina and Mt Gambier.