Government & Non Government Services in Victoria
Supported Accommodation Group Homes throughout Victoria, for those with an intellectual or multiple disability, are divided between state government direct care services of the Department of Human Services (DHS), and various not-for-profit community service organisations (CSOs)
The major funding for all these group homes is from the State Government. This government funding is given to the DHS. They divide it up to first to suit their need to buy, not properly manage their way - including their own direct care services. Whilst CSOs have to properly manage their DHS under-funding, fund-raise and charge their residents far more than the DHS charge the residents of their group homes.
Notwithstanding National Disability Services (NDS) putting this immoral situation into financial terminology, it is discrimination between the residents of DHS group homes and the residents of CSO group homes.
With DHS management enjoying the luxury of spending-up-big on buying, not properly managing their way, CSO management must properly manage their services within their tight DHS hand-out budget. And those who receive these hand-outs, are expected to accept that they must not question the hand which feeds them. A hand with a massive conflict of interest - DHS being a regulator, a funding source, a direct and indirect service provider and a landlord. And the Minister for this service provider, is also the Minister for the monitoring their service level and quality - "How's that for conflict of interest?"
Although NDS and its CSO members strongly support the State Disability Plan 2002-12, a plan which seeks to ensure that people with a disability have and exercise the same rights as other citizens and live full lives as members of our community, their present funding makes this difficult to achieve.
With significantly more funding, the DHS, DS, still fail to fully implement the direction, intention and spirit of their care policies, standards and values to ensure the residents of their group homes receive consistent quality of life care - quality of life care the Victorian Auditor General, in his recommendation 4.1, suggests that families should assess. Yet, the Office of the Public Advocate refuses to allow its Community Visitors to contact families in this regard!
The almost unlimited budget of the DHS provides for plenty of, staff, equipment, transport, building modifications, maintenance and supports an adhoc management and planning philosophy of, "Live for the day, cost is of little concern - it's only government money anyway!"
LISA Comment: We call on the new State Government of Victoria to review why the residents of CSO group homes frequently pay significantly more, and have less financial benefits, than the residents of DHS group homes. We also call on the new State Government to ensure meaningful outcome expectations are set on all funding.
Much of the failure to provide quality of life care for the residents of group homes is frequently not funding level, but the level and quality of the implementation care policies, standards and values. Especially the failure of DHS management to set monitor and maintain direct care staff work value expectations to ensure care is consistently provided within the direction, intention and spirit of departmental and recognised care policies standards and values, and to the satisfaction of caring families.
Extra 1: AIHW - First bulletin on health of Australians with a disability
Extra 2: Autistic Children Forced to Run on Speeding Treadmill
Extra 3: How does a Mother cope as Autistic Boys Grow-up?
Extra 4: Obscene Jokes about Children with a Disability
Extra 6: Next year we will be highlighting the chronic underfunding of Day Services in Victoria. Service level and quality drop like a brick between "Special Schools" (DE&ECD) and "Adult Day Centres" (DHS)!