Don't let the NDIS leave 1000 kids homeless!
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The rollout of the NDIS was meant to be the start of a new age. Like Medicare before it, this was meant to change the way Australia funds disability support services. One system, for the whole country, no one left behind.
Unfortunately the system has been plagued with mismanagement and as the rollout has extended across the country, we are now finding that some children may be evicted from their homes due to a fight between the State and Federal Governments over who is responsible for their care.
About 1000 kids are currently accessing out-of-home care across NSW (including overnight respite services and residential placements) according to the ABC. This is due to their high support needs and the challenges in caring for them at home. As one father puts it:
"You don't just wake up one morning and say it's a bit hard, I think I'll just put my kid in care,
"The reality we confront is we can't keep Henry safe at home.
"These are only decisions that you reach when you've thrown everything at it and you've failed and you've hit rock bottom.
"And you've found a way to pick yourself up and you've failed again."
Now the State and Federal government are at war over who is responsible for ensuring the continuing care and support for 1000 kids like Henry, leaving these families caught in the crossfire. The State is pointing to NDIS and declaring the National Disability Insurance Agency responsible, while the NDIA has told the ABC:
"the NDIS is not responsible for funding out-of-home care placements for children and it is outside of the Act to do so. As such the state retains responsibility for out-of-home care arrangements for children,"
The NDIA has also passed responsibility to parents, stating:
"Where participants are under the age of 18, it is expected that parents who retain parental responsibility for their children will contribute financially to their day to day living costs, including accommodation and everyday living expenses like utilities, food and clothing."
It is unfortunate both that the NDIA believes this to be an appropriate statement to make about parental responsibility, and also that it is no longer surprising for the NDIA to make such an offensive statement.
Ultimately, this decision impacts families and their communities all across the State. Right now, there are providers who are carrying the cost of care with no funding or support from either government, but their kindness and generosity can only stretch so far. We need our politicians to sort this out.
It is not acceptable to leave 1000 kids homeless and make these families collateral damage for the sake of cost shifting and a political turf war. Blaming parents and each other is not acceptable. We need a real solution that ensures these kids are safe and have appropriate care.
Join this petition calling on our politicians to put politics aside and create a real solution for these families.
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