Thursday, February 28 2013
Professor Peter Shergold AC, has bee invited by the Hon Mary Wooldridge MP, Minister for Community Services, Victoria, to head this project of attempting to discover why services for vulnerable people is such a mess in Victoria.
Professor Shergold says, “I have become increasingly persuaded that more effective collaboration between the public, community and private sectors can help drive social innovation. This would allow governments to receive larger returns for their increasing investments in addressing disadvantage and improving opportunity. Most importantly, it will enable citizens to gain access to better services”.
There have been many similar reviews over the years, but they have been negated by the Department of Human Services “DHS”) issue avoiding, in denial and manoeuvring every which way to maintain their traditional status quo of maintaining their power over the people who they consider are always wrong and should feel totally grateful for whatever they get, and never, ever, complain – the consumers.
Traditional public service culture is safe, comfort-zone, appearance-employment. Paid to just be at their workplace. Within such a comfort-zone, there is no room for customers or customer service.
History shows there is little chance of changing such an entrenched, captive market culture without a drastic change towards a marketplace culture similar to that which broke the Telecom monopoly over all telephone services throughout Australia. Or, by closing government direct care services in favour of the non-government, not for profit, CSO services.
Melbourne’s train services were once run by the state government with public service staff, where passengers considered themselves lucky to have a train at all. Whereas, state governments are now able to penalise the contractor for questionable services.
State governments are unwilling/unable to penalise the DHS for its questionable activities. The best they can do, is just conciliate at best. Mainly, state governments are ‘in-bed’ with the DHS.
With all direct care disability support services provided by non-government, not for profit, services, the state government, through DHS, would take pleasure in keeping CSOs up to scratch.
LINK to Project Review Paper
Forums in Victoria
Thursday, February 21 2013
The Disability Support Register (DSR) of the Department of Human Services (DHS), Victoria, is a service allocation process for all people in Victoria with a confirmed need for supports that meet their disability needs.
Medical services are, in contrast, available to all Australians, because all pay or have paid the Medicare levy. We do not have to stand in-line or compete with others to see a doctor. We have a recognised and paid entitlement to medical services.
In total contrast, people with disabilities have no such entitlement to support services for their basic living needs. They have to stand in a ‘charity hand-out line’ and compete with others for the few crumbs of support funding which is further reduced by DHS bureaucratic fudging and bludging in their ivory palaces.
The DSR application form is massive and bureaucratic, where people with disabilities must bare their most inner sole to assertively compete with each other for those charity hand-out crumbs.
Consider the outrage if members of the general population had to complete such a sole baring document as a DSR application, justifying their need for medical services. At the drop of a hat, we can go to a GP, be referred to specialist and have the most complex range of tests - electronic and pathology.
The initial intention of the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) was that of providing entitlement disability support services through a percentage on the Medicare levy.
It is sad the Australian general population, unlike Scandinavians, appear reluctant to share their quality of life with those Australians disadvantaged by disability, by fully funding the NDIS similar to medical services, to provide needs and entitlement based lifetime services for all people with disabilities. Rather than the weak, watery and penny-pinched NDIS about to be launched on peanut funding from controversial government general revenue.
LINK to DSR Application Form
~ LINK to Ongoing Disability Support Handbook.
Monday, February 11 2013
Vulnerable children have revealed a secret life of prostitution, hard drugs including heroin and violence while living in residential care. Andy Burns - Andy.firstname.lastname@example.org - Herald Sun – February 11, 2013.
Wards are victims of a record number of assaults and sex attacks while living in state care [Victoria] last year. Care workers say a lack of beds is a major cause of the trouble, with children as young as 12 groomed for drugs and sex work by their older peers.
Documents obtained under Freedom of Information show there were 512 assaults, sex attacks and rapes of children in care last year, a 130 per cent jump in three years.
Industry experts say the situation is dire, with more kids at risk of slipping through the cracks.
Three youths have told their stories, saying that during their time in care: they became users of drugs including marijuana and methamphetamines. They were introduced to prostitution. They witnessed systematic violence and abuse. They were sexually assaulted.
One girl said that as a 13-year-old, she shared a house with two older wards who began "pimping" her as a sex worker at a train station.
"They were both prostitutes, so they started giving me their drugs and stuff and they gave me a drug habit so that I would start doing that with them," the girl said.
She said she was permitted by carers to walk out of the unit on a nightly basis.
"They (residential workers) didn't care, you didn't even need to say where you were going, you'd just walk out the door," she said.
"If you have girls who are really f...ed up and you put them with 12-year-olds — it should not happen," she said.
Sandie de Wolf, CEO of the non-government Berry Street children's program, said the lack of beds for the 500 children in Victoria was leading to the mixing of vulnerable young children with older troubled teens.
"You don't put a vulnerable 13-year-old girl who has been sexually abused with three older acting-out boys, but if that's the only bed, that happens," she said.
One care worker said many children who went into residential care came out worse off.
DHS head of policy for Victoria's Eastern Region, Chris Asquini, said "the dial is definitely turning" in a positive direction since a department overhaul in 2007.
"It's about keeping your staff motivated to keep going in the face of some very complex, difficult, confronting work," Ms Asquini said.
Minister for Community Services Mary Woolridge said the Government had made progress and was committed to reform.
LISA Comment: Just like the management of group homes for people with an intellectual or multiple disability, DHS management of "Child Protection" is equally unable to properly manage the business of ensuring the provision of proper and accountable care.
Sunday, February 10 2013
Traditional public service bludging and fudging takes a large percentage out of public funds allocated by the state government of Victoria to support the state’s most vulnerable people.
Jeff Kennett saw the need to get DHS Victoria out of direct service provision, but was beaten by union demands.
“Will Ted Baillieu see the value in doing this before the next state election in November 2014, or will he need to be re-elected to do this - to have government/public funds properly provide for those for whom these funds are intended, rather than a large percentage fund the traditional bureaucratic bludging and fudging in the public service comfort zones of the Department of Human Services?”
The department’s management structure is a sham of reactive rather than proactive management buying its way, rather than managing its way.
Department management has no ability to properly man-manage its direct care staff to set, monitor and maintain their work value, to ensure services are consistently with the direction, intention and spirit of the department’s care policies, standards and values.
Most department group homes, for people with an intellectual or multiple disability, float on paperwork - many with offices large enough to run BHP!
All this whilst the department hands-out peanuts to non-government, community service organisations (CSOs), to provide similar services, and then punish and intimidate them if they falter in any way. Whilst their own services can make the most atrocious mess, and nothing is said.
The department keeps the CSOs lean, whilst they keep a lion’s share of state government/public money to bludge, fudge and enjoy comfort zones at work’.
Wednesday, February 06 2013
Survey for individuals with an individual Support Package (ISP), and their Family and Carers
You are invited to complete a survey for individuals with an Individual Support Package (ISP) and their family and carers.
This survey is part of the Evaluation of the Transition to Self-directed Approaches for People with a Disability in Victoria that Dyson Consulting Group is doing on behalf of the Department of Human Services.
This evaluation includes a review of the experiences and outcomes of individuals with an ISP and their family and carers.
The purpose of the survey is to hear your views about your experiences with ISPs, the benefits, outcomes and challenges with having an ISP and how they can be improved.
Survey responses are completely anonymous.
LINK to the Survey
LISA Comment: It has for ever been almost impossible to make block funded service providers accountable, especially government direct services.
Realising this, the Productivity Commission opted to put the consumer in the driver’s seat by placing the funding in the consumer’s pocket as an ISP. The consumer in control is fine for most services in life, as there is adequate competition.
And changing service providers is generally not as daunting as it can be for a person with a disability and/or their family shopping around.
Friday, February 01 2013
by Brigid O'Connell, Herald Sun, February 1, 2013.
Max Smith is one of Victoria's 400 ever-smiling "little angels".
Children with the rare genetic disorder Angelman Syndrome have a trademark wide smile and ready laugh, despite enduring severe seizures, speech impairments and developmental delays.
But new clinical trial results, to be released today at a conference in Melbourne, will reveal that an acne medication is being used to reduce the devastating symptoms with great success.
Preliminary results from a US first-phase trial using the common antibiotic minocycline have shown improved behaviour, attention and communication in children with Angelman Syndrome. University of South Florida molecular researcher Dr Edwin Weeber said it was believed that the drug worked by increasing communication between neurons in the brain.
"We thought the deficiencies in Angelman Syndrome happened in utero, but we're now realising that the brain is intact, the wiring of the brain is correct but there is an overall reduction in communication in the brain," Dr Weeber said.
The conference, run by the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics Australia, will plan how to bring the next expanded phase of the trial to Australia. It's estimated that one in about 15,000 children will be diagnosed with the disorder, but many are wrongly diagnosed with cerebral palsy or autism.
Max's mother, Anne Murphy, said after finally being able to control his seizures and establishing regular sleep patterns, the positive findings from the trial had made up her "wish list".
"I love Max the way he is. I don't want his happy personality to change, but anything that improves his quality of life and communication would be fantastic, "she said.