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LISA... is a parent support and lobby group, for parents and families with a family member having an intellectual or multiple disability, and living in a supported accommodation group home in the State of Victoria, Australia.
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Thursday, May 31 2012

Mum worries about her 3 year old at kinder! Are they doing anything, or is it just minder care? But the little one can tell Mum …

Mum worries far more about her 33 year old with little ability and no meaningful communications, living in a government group home!

So what has mum to worry about with her 33 year old? It’s all about, “Who Cares”.

Who cares about those special things mothers do so well for their vulnerable family member, whether he or she be 3 or 33.

In most group homes it is the person’s key worker who is supposed to emulate the person’s parent – take care of the person’s special needs.

Those who can do little for themselves, need someone to take special care of them …

  • Proper showering and bathing.
  • Food prepared and presented nicely.
  • Dressed well in good and well fitting clothes and shoes – not stained and shabby clothes with buttons missing and/or dirty unkempt shoes.
  • Having good bed linen – not with a pillow like a biscuit.
  • Teeth cared for properly (brushed at least twice per day) – regular visits to the dentist
  • Feet cared for properly – taken to a podiatrist regularly.
  • Any skin damage or bruises attended to immediately
  • Ears checked regularly by a GP
  • Taken to a GP as and when needed, not just as and when convenient to staff.

Yes, we know there are many more, but we feel this shows the concerns most parents have in respect to group homes. And why many parents look to ‘Self-Directed Approaches” through ISPs. Nevertheless, not everyone has the health or energy for SDA, and must resort to a group home.

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:32 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, May 28 2012
Department of Human Services, Disability Services, Victoria

"Residential Services Practice Manual"
'Promoting Positive Practice’ Preface – 2009

The aim of accommodation services:
The aim of shared supported accommodation services is to enrich the quality of life of people with a disability who live in them.

Staff role: On a daily basis, the role of all disability services staff is to provide skilled support to use every available daily opportunity to actively promote people's:
• participation in household and community activities
• relationship building with other people
• choice in all aspects of decision-making that affects them
• dignity and respect in all aspects of their lives
• skills that are used and developed to create achievement.

Underpinning requirements for practice: All staff are required to work according to the department values, which are contained in the booklet our values, the Code of conduct for Victorian public sector employees and duty of care requirements. Our values provide clear information that encapsulates these requirements.

Client focused:
• In Disability Accommodation Services this means using person centred active support (PCAS) to provide life experiences and opportunities in a positive and least restrictive way.
• Provide support free of personal bias, for example the support does not influence or judge lifestyle choices such as religious belief or sexuality, or decisions legally made by the person and their family such as not for resuscitation orders.

• For support staff this means making decisions within the scope of their role.
• Reporting issues including suspicion of abuse or neglect and seeking assistance when unsure.
• Taking responsibility for decisions and work undertaken.

Collaborative relationships:
• This means working as part of a team, which includes managers, work colleagues, residents, family members, other service providers and the community.
• Support staff provide assistance to residents and colleagues to be the best they can be.

Professional integrity and respect:
• Support is provided within the scope of the staff role with a focus on residents' wishes and practice and policy requirements.
• Identify possible conflicts of interest and ensure these are managed or avoided.
• Respect is shown to residents, families, colleagues, other service providers and members of the community.
• Communication is open and information is shared as required to ensure residents are supported at home and while attending other services.

• Support staff work to the best of their ability and set an example to others.
• Support staff do not accept 'near enough as good enough' from themselves or colleagues.

Person centred active support is the key: PCAS is a system of planning, a method of working and a system of recording that enables people with a disability to fully participate in life. This approach means support staff provide the level of support required by a person to maximise participation in all life areas.

PCAS is the required support framework for all department managed accommodation services. It provides guidance and evidence that people are being provided with support in a way that promotes quality of life outcomes. PCAS and the Quality Framework for Disability Services in Victoria have parallel individual outcome requirements.

There are five key life areas to address when planning with and supporting people in residential services. The five individual outcomes standards from the quality framework are:
• Individuality each person has goals, wants, aspirations and support needs and makes decisions about their life.
• Participation each individual is able to access and participate in their community.
• Capacity each individual has the ability and potential to achieve a valued role in the community.
• Citizenship each individual has rights and responsibilities as a member of the community.
• Leadership each individual informs the way that supports are provided.

Support staff should refer to the resource guide, understanding the quality framework for disability services in Victoria for definitions and further information about the standards.

LISA Comment: The'Preface' to the department's 2009 care policy manual is the very first pages. The 2007 manaul did not have these pages. The department has clearly since learnt, that it needed to define the basis on which the rest of this important manual is based
Posted by: Hatton AT 12:12 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, May 19 2012

It is the role of government to fund the provision of social services to the public. Government uses public money, the result of taxes and charges, to do this. It must, therefore, be the role of government to regulate the provision of social services.

The organisation funded by the State Government of Victoria to provide and arrange the provision of social services across Victoria, is the Department of Human Services (“DHS”), Victoria.

The regulation of this organisation, this government department must, therefore, be the responsibility of the State Government of Victoria. One of the social service roles of DHS Victoria, is to arrange the provision of support services for people with a disability, through its ‘Disability Services’.

As part of the state government’s responsibility to regulate DHS Victoria, it established, under the Disability Act 2006, the Office of the Disability Services Commissioner.

The Disability Services Commissioner is, (a) not empowered to direct service providers (including DHS Victoria) and , (b) not empowered to consider systemic complaints (complaints about that which causes individual complaints to arise) – system failures. The Commissioner is empowered only to conciliate ‘individual complaints’.

This leaves the only body with the right to directly investigate the systemic aspect of consumer complaints against DHS Victoria, and to subsequently direct DHS Victoria to correct its system failures, as the State Government of Victoria.

It is, therefore, the responsibility of the Minister for Community Services to direct DHS Victoria to correct its system failures. If necessary, through the Minister engaging and empowering external expertise to ensure this occurs.

However, the ‘Mandarins of DHS Victoria’ have all politicians well controlled!

'Yes Minister', portrayed this perfectly as: ”With respect Minister, you cannot do that because of a, b, c, etc, etc. If you do that Minister, we will have to do this and that as a result. What would the Opposition and the Electorate think of that, Minister?”

Ministers are prisoners of their department! There is a phrase in the Public Service called, 'Mirror Treatment'

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:34 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, May 18 2012

ABC TV 7:30 Report - May 18, 2012

Some Key Points:

This matter has been with the police for two years.

Many cases don't gather sufficient evidence.

Increase of incidents.

People are discouraged from reporting.

There may be an increase in confidence of reporting.

There is still a cover-up culture.

There is still an intimidating culture for Whistleblowers.

Whistleblowers (good staff) are not supported by Management.

That reported is as a direct result of, (a) DHS Public Service Reactive (issue avoidance) Management and, (b) the failure of successive state governments to properly control/regulate DHS Victoria.

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:37 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, May 12 2012

Story from The Australian

LISA Comment: The NDIS continues to look like, “JUST MORE OF THE SAME!” Whereas, the original intention of NDIS was, (a) to reduce/eliminate the waiting lists and, (b) to ensure all services, new and existing, were quality care, entitlement care and customer service focused.

This most will certainly not happen with $35,000 packages, when the service-fee for a place in a government group home in Victoria is currently, $123,545 (AGO figure)! A

nd, it will certainly not happen whilst state governments remain direct service providers, with their public service, reactive, old, tired and institutional style service management

Posted by: Hatton AT 03:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, May 11 2012

The Australian Government announced three expert groups to help inform the design of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

The expert groups will work under [as] the NDIS Advisory Group to help the Australian Government design a scheme that meets the lifetime care and support needs of people with significant and permanent disability. 


The expert groups are:

National Approach to Control and Choice

  • Jeff Harmer, NDIS Advisory Group (co-chair)
  • Fran Vicary, NDIS Advisory Group (co-chair)
  • Robbi Williams, Julia Farr Association
  • Kirsten Deane, National Disability and Carers Alliance
  • Lesley Hall, Australian Federation of Disability Organisations
  • Samantha Jenkinson, National Disability and Carer Council
  • Ara Cresswell, Carers Australia
  • Vicki O’Halloran, Somerville Community Services Darwin
  • Daniel Leighton, Inclusion Melbourne
  • Sally McManus, Australian Services Union

Eligibility and Assessment

  • Rhonda Galbally, NDIS Advisory Group (co-chair)
  • Joan McKenna-Kerr, NDIS Advisory Group (co-chair)
  • Ros Madden, University of Sydney
  • Janet Dore, Transport Accident Commission
  • Robbi Williams, Julia Farr Association
  • Tim Moore, Carers Australia
  • Graeme Innes, Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner
  • Frank Quinlan, Mental Health Council of Australia
  • Suzanne Lulham, New South Wales Lifetime Care and Support Authority
  • Lesley Hall, Australian Federation of Disability Organisations

Quality Safeguards and Standards

  • Lorna Hallahan, NDIS Advisory Group (co-chair)
  • Bruce Bonyhady, NDIS Advisory Group (co-chair)
  • Stephanie Gotlib, Children with Disability Australia
  • Margaret Reynolds
  • Marita Walker, Perth Homecare
  • Sally Robinson, Griffith University
  • Kevin Cocks, Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner
  • Kelly Shay, United Voice

LISA Note: Clarification: The three expert groups will work as the, "NDIS Advisory Group"

Posted by: Hatton AT 03:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, May 09 2012

An injection of $1 billion will kick-start the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The funding, to be delivered over four years, demonstrates the Commonwealth's commitment to the scheme, but is less than some disability campaigners had hoped for.

People with disabilities will be individually assessed and will work with local coordinators to develop support plans, taking into account their goals and needs.

The money will begin to flow with an $84 million down payment in 2012-13, rising to $363 million in 2015-16.

More than a third of the funding has been earmarked for care and support costs, while $155 million will be used to employ local co¬ordinators and $123 million has been allocated to prepare the disability sector to deliver services in new ways.

Almost a quarter of a billion dollars will be spent on building an information technology system to measure the performance of the new arrangements, while $59 million will pay for assessments of people with disabilities to determine their eligibility and what support they need. A National Disability Transition Agency to coordinate the implementation of the scheme will cost $53 million, while $17 million has been allocated to research and evaluation.

The scheme will begin in July next year in four locations and deliver personalised care and support for up to 10,000 people. It will grow to support up to 20,000 from 2014-15.

The Commonwealth will begin negotiations with state and territory governments on the four locations where the scheme will start. It expects to name these later this year. The experience in the four launch sites will determine when and how the government rolls out a national scheme.

A national scheme is expected to cost $8 billion a year more than governments now spend on disability services. The Commonwealth will be expecting each state to at least main¬tain their current level of spending on disability services, and will be encouraging them to lift their level of spending to that of Victoria, which spends $8378 annually per person.

The federal government will ask those that participate in the launch to collectively contribute $288 mil¬lion over the first four years of the scheme.

The Commonwealth will pay all administration costs, but will ask states to share the costs of care and support.

In a separate measure, the govern¬ment will inject almost $60 million into 600 businesses which employ people with a disability, supporting about 20,000 jobs.


  • $3425 million for individual support packages for those with significant permanent disabilities.
  • $154.8 million for local co-ordination.
  • $122.6 million to help disability service industry prepare.
  • $240.3 million for an IT system.
  • $59.6 million for employment support for the disabled

LISA Comment: The original intention of the NDIS was not just more of the same, but to give all people with a disability and their families services with dignity, an entitlement and customer service.

The foremost reason for NDIS is to provide more funding to significantly reduce or eliminate the waiting list for services and equipment.

Equally important, is to ensure all people with a disability have an entitlement to services and equipment.

The following key points are contradictory. Rather than the original intention the NDIS shall be totally federal, the states are now becoming involved, and they have never been able provide creditable services, deliver service in new ways or measure performance.

  • Deliver services in new ways.
  • Measure the performance of the new arrangements.
  • States to at least maintain their current level of spending on disability services.
  • Commonwealth will ask states to share the costs of care and support.

We suggest we are certainly to see more services, but just more of the same old crap! People with a disability and their families still treated as lucky to get anything, should feel eternally grateful and should never, ever, complain.

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, May 09 2012

The Budget has revealed a $1 billion down-payment to kick start its much lauded National Disabilities Insurance Scheme.

Spread over four years, the money will be used to set up the first stage of the NDIS, which aims to provide lifelong care for the severely disabled.

Initially 10,000 people will be supported from July next year, and 20,000 from July 2014. But cities and towns to benefit first will not be announced until late this year until the rollout begins.

There are 400,000 Australians living with a disability and this scheme is set to help paraplegics, those afflicted with cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, brain injuries and other permanent disabilities, no matter their circumstances.

$1 billion to launch the NDIS from July 2012
10,000 people will initially get support, doubling in 2013
​Launch sites to be negotiated with states and territories.

More than $213 million will be used to train the first local area coordinators, who will work with people on funded support packages catered to their needs.

More than $342 million will be spent on that individualised support in the three years from next year.

Victorian MP Bill Shorten, who led the push for the scheme, said it would end the "second-class citizenship" for people with disabilities and their carers, who have suffered with inadequate support. "

This is the first step for at least 10,000 and 20,000 families who have ageing parents who have midnight anxiety about who is going to care for their adult child when they no longer can," he said.

"At last it will be possible for Australians to be able to make that promise to those ageing carers that your kids are going to be OK."

Each state and territory will kick in funds, and the Victorian Government has been positive about the changes.

A fully implemented scheme is tipped to cost about $8 billion a year.

The scheme is being rolled out a year earlier than had been proposed.

Posted by: Hatton AT 03:57 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, May 08 2012

History or Hoax?

“In the cold light of day Budget Night was Fudge it Night for people with disabilities and their families. Rather than historic, the government’s proposal for implementing the National Disability Insurance Scheme is a sad, poorly executed hoax pulled on those Australians with a severe dependent disability”, said Marylou Carter , Secretary of the Carers Alliance.

The Budget provides for just over $85 million a year for individualised packages for people with significant disability, while about $164 million a year is set aside for more fatcats, technocrats and yardsticks.

“Based on last night’s figures full implementation of the scheme by 2018 is simply impossible” said Ms Carter.

The Productivity Commission recommended $600 million in the first year of implementation, with increases over 6 years to reach the targeted $6.8 billion when fully implemented.

The Gillard government had two choices on how to implement a National Disability Insurance Scheme, either do it on time in co-operation with the states and well or introduce it with seat-of-the-pants haste and do it badly. With impeccable consistency, the Gillard government picked bad politics over good policy in a game of hide-the-dollar one-upmanship for political ends.

‘It is fanciful to claim this version of the National Disability Insurance Scheme as historic when in reality the Gillard government has squibbed, and they know it.”

“Additional money is always welcome to give people with disabilities the opportunity to be the best they can be. However, the Carers Alliance does not see this current proposal as moving forward to ‘a great Labor reform’, we see it as ‘a great Labor retreat”.

The Gillard government has shown it lacks the courage for real reform for real people in real need. Carers Alliance a federally registered political party formed to promote a better life for and advance the full inclusion of people with disabilities and their supportive families.

Contact: Marylou Carter, Secretary Ph: 0425 363 421

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:15 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, May 02 2012

The Baillieu government, Victoria, has unleashed the biggest program of public sector job shedding and cost-cutting since the Kennett era in a desperate scramble to keep the state budget in surplus.

Delivering Victoria's most austere budget since the 1990s, state Treasurer Kim Wells outlined plans to sack thousands of public servants and rake in hundreds of millions of dollars of extra cash.

Kim Wells says Victorians understand the Government has delivered a tough budget the state had to have, despite more public sector job cuts.

Another 600 public servants will lose their jobs on top of the 3600 already announced in December, to keep the state in the black amid plummeting revenues.

Mr Wells said all the public sector job cuts would occur over a two year period from July 1 and said he was confident they would be achieved through voluntary redundancies.

Premier Ted Baillieu said the 4200 jobs to be slashed over two years from a 36,000-strong public service would bring public service numbers back to 2006-07-08 levels, saving $1 billion over four years.

Mr Baillieu said the budget would retain Victoria's AAA credit rating, keep taxes competitive, reduce Workcover premiums and set things up for a near record investment in infrastructure next year.

Mr Wells said it was a case of the Government "living within its means" and funnelling the limited funds to those most in need.

LISA Comment: The first question the people of Victoria, especially people with a disability and their families should ask is, “What are/were the 4200 public servants doing, which is now seen as unnecessary?”

Secondly, “How is the Baillieu government going to ensure the public service is providing meaningful customer service, rather than the traditional service avoidance, issue avoidance and manoeuvre every which way that people with a disability have suffered since time immemorial?”

Clearly, no one cared about the bureaucratic waste until there were financial reasons to keep the state in the black. Rather than ‘monitor and run an efficient public service’ to ensure public money is not used to fund the bureaucratic service avoidance which people with a disability, their families and non government services, CSOs, have to fight continuously to achieve just basic services.

Whilst non government services are well underfunded and struggling, government direct services are living high on the hog. They don’t properly business manage their way, they buy and blunder their way along with reactive management and staff lore!

CSO members of NDS report a rise in problems and frustrations relating to departmental processes of constraints, functionality and administration of the service system - Bureaucratic build-up and bungling, funded at the expense of front-line services for people with a disability and their families.

We should all be concerned with the potential of the state public service to build self-serving bureaucratic empires with NDIS funding, in their quest to be a launching pad for NDIS.

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:17 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, May 01 2012

Students of TAFE Certificate 4 in disability, receive significant theory and practical instruction in PCAS and PBS {Person Centred Active Support and Positive Behaviour Support), throughout the course.

Most students are keen to practice their new found skills of providing intellectual and developmental skills to the residents of group homes and the clients of day services, both during their work experience times, and when they get work after the course.

Rather similar to police recruits, who are equally keen to get into practical work on the streets, but are told by the station sergeant to sit quietly at a desk, and not go looking for work on the streets which will cause paper work. Those with, or doing Cert-4, are told, mainly in government direct care, that their role is basic minder care, not all this intellectual and developmental rubbish.

These keen new workers, ex TAFE students, are frequently told on their first day in a government direct care group home, if you do this PCAS/PBS rubbish, we will all have to do it. So sit quietly, mind the residents, enjoy the TV, have a coffee and a chat. And what is especially relevant, you are not paid enough to do other than basic minder care!

This is how the traditional institutional mindset of ‘minder-care’ is maintained throughout the ‘group home in the community’ concept.

Young people, just off the TAFE course, with the energy and enthusiasm to really help people with a disability develop a real quality of life are often so disillusioned that they leave the field, having failed to convince government direct care reactive management of the need to help people with a disability in the way their TAFE course showed them.

Government direct care management see their primary role, to keep the majority of direct care staff happy in doing whatever they want, or don’t want to do. The residents are no problem, they will not, and mostly cannot complain. If they do, they will not be believed!

The following extract from a Community Visitor Report, Victoria, illustrates what is quite common

​Community Visitor Visit Reference XXXXX (extract) Issue 6.

Community visitors concerned with staff not following instructions regarding active support because of staff conflict.

Response 6:

Active support has been an issue since its introduction to XXXXXXX. Some staff have objected to active support as it "forcing the residents to do things they do not want to".

There was a letter produced by an unknown person stating that "active support was not in the basic care that DDSO workers provide".

My response to this situation is that the residents need to be engaged in meaningful activity that will reduce the amount of boredom and to motivate the residents to take an active role in their daily lives.

The skills the residents have can be built on as well as retaining the skills they already have. By staff doing everything and sticking by a "basic care" attitude, the residents will never be able to "own" their own lives.

We are here as DDSO workers and not the residents in our workplace. If there is a further issue you wish to discuss with this one I will be more than happy to sit with you and discuss it.

This applies for any of the staff you would like to discuss this with as well.

The concerns with staff conflict is a very real one and as the house supervisor I have been trying to resolve this issue for 12 months.

Again I would ask you to contact the house again if you would like to discuss this and I will ask management to come along so the situation can be discussed with all concerned..

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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