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Carers in crisis over dependent children Stephen Taylor steve@mpnews.com.au AGEING parents worn down by years of caring for their intellectually disabled adult children living at home are calling on both sides of government to provide them with independent housing that is permanent, safe and secure. This was highlighted at a meeting of Community Lifestyle Accommodation (CLA) members and Mornington Peninsula parents and carers at Mornington Community Information and Support Centre late last month. Experts from Mornington’s Hill Legal discussed what parents and carers needed to know about options to pay accommodation fees, dealing with financial and medical issues, understanding tenancy and residential agreements, and options available if a family cannot take over when the parent dies. About 40 at the session heard that, even with the NDIS, housing remains the greatest challenge for those living with an intellectual disability – particularly those still being cared for at home by their ageing parents. Hastings resident and secretary of CLA Marie Hell said she and other parent carers had “sacrificed our own lives, livelihoods and our adult relationships in order to care for our sons and daughters who have lived with intellectual disability all their lives”. Ms Hell, who cares for her 47-yearold son at home, said: “With many of our members now in their 70s and 80s, the burden is just too much and, without enough housing stock to meet

current demand, we are terrified about what will happen to our children, where they will live, and who will care for them after we die, so their housing must be addressed now.” CLA says that Australia wide 127,000 NDIS participants with significant disability will require accommodation, however, of this figure, only 28,000 will be funded under the Specialist Disability Accommodation model. The balance of NDIS participants will, instead, be placed onto the Victorian social housing register to compete for places within a system it says is “entirely unsuitable for those with intellectual disabilities and which is already underfunded and at breaking point”. By 2025 CLA estimates there will be a shortfall of accommodation places for 35,000-55,000 NDIS participants who will have little hope of ever developing any sort of community inclusion and independent living – both core aspirations and deliverables of the NDIS. “To make matters worse, the struggle to even access and then navigate the labyrinth of NDIS rules and regulations for many ageing parent carers is proving to be a nightmare,” Ms Hell said. “We have gone around in circles for more than 12 months with housing plans not being developed properly and with our voices as parent carers being ignored repeatedly by government. “Some NDIS planners still do not fully understand the ongoing support needs of our adult children with severe and profound intellectual dis-

Help us: Community Lifestyle Accommodation board members Elizabeth Bourke, Marie Hell, Kevin Turner, Yvonne Alaimo, Pauline Musgrave and Russell Joseph, who is the group’s patron. Picture: Supplied

ability who, since birth, have relied on mum and dad for everything.” She said people with a disability, particularly intellectual disability, have been sitting on the Victorian Government Disability Support Register for decades with little hope of finding any kind of independent supported accommodation unless their parents die, become suicidal, or take the “heart-wrenching step of relinquishing their children into state care”.

CLA chairperson Kevin Turner said: “Many of our members are simply too exhausted and too busy caring for their 40-plus-year-old children every hour of every day to even find the time to effectively lobby government for a fair go. “While we have had some success along the way, with an eight-person supported accommodation home in Rosebud about to open, we need another 50 of these to be built before

we can even address existing needs, let alone future requirements.” CLA is urging the federal candidates at the May election to “drop the politics, work with the states and find long term funding options for all affected families to ensure their children can also reach their maximum potential and leave the family home to find a place of their own. “They can only do this with our community’s help,” Mr Turner said.

As the highest performing secondary school on the Mornington Peninsula, Dromana College will continue to work tirelessly to develop and consolidate the many exemplary educational programs on offer. With outstanding facilities, a committed professional staff and a caring school community, students are challenged to explore their interests and talents to achieve their personal best. As a school of academic excellence we have actioned and established • Outstanding VCE results • Single gender classes in Year 9 • Select entry academic enhancement program (LEAP) • ‘State of the art’ Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 areas • Performing Arts Centre, Design Centre • International Sister Schools Program and study tours • Before and after school enhancement classes • Instrumental music tuition • Diverse and engaging extra curricula events • High expectations of all students • A clear and consistent code of conduct for all students

‘A high performing provider of education on the Mornington Peninsula’

Open Night

Tuesday 30 April 2019 at 6.00pm LEAP 2020 Testing – Saturday 11 May 2019 - 9.00am at the College. All applicants are required to register their details, for the testing by 6 May 2019. No late applications will be accepted. All information is on the DSC website under ‘Curriculum’.

110 Harrisons Road, Dromana, Victoria 3936 Entry via Old White Hill Road

T: 03 5987 2805 E: dromana.sc@edumail.vic.gov.au W: www.dsc.vic.edu.au

‘Lessons come from the journey… not the destination’ Tours available Tuesday mornings at 9:30am. Please phone 03 5987 2805 for bookings.

RESPONSIBILITY, RESPECT, INTEGRITY, PERSONAL BEST Southern Peninsula News

10 April 2019

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Profile for Mornington Peninsula News Group

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Southern Peninsula News 9 April 2019

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Southern Peninsula News 9 April 2019

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