Ageing, Disability & Home Care

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Pilot program to assist children with severe disabilities

21 March 2012

Minister for Disability Services, Andrew Constance, has today opened the Communities around Kids Service (CaK) at St Ives, a home away from home for children with multi-faceted disabilities.

“The Communities around Kids Service is a two-year pilot program funded by Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) and operated by the Sylvanvale Foundation,” Mr Constance said.

“The program aims to provide regular, high quality care for young children with multi-faceted disabilities, as well as offering early intervention strategies and support to families in crisis.”

Three children, including eight-year-old Jordan Smith, are the first residents. They spend four nights a week at CaK before returning to the family home.

The Minister said Jordan has an intellectual disability and Sanfilippo Syndrome, a rare and degenerative metabolic disease.

“Jordan’s four-year-old brother and two-year-old sister were at risk of serious injury from his increasingly challenging behaviour,” Mr Constance said.

“Now he receives individualised care at a home away from home which also provides respite for his family.”

Jordan’s mother, Vanita Connery, said the program has been life changing.

“For the first time, our family has support that is appropriate, consistent and ongoing,” Ms Connery said.

“You can’t underestimate the feeling of regaining some control over your life after such a long period of instability.”

“This offers Jordan exactly what we wanted most for him – loads of personal freedom, the chance to do the things he loves while he still can, complete acceptance and great affection.”

“We have the beginning of a very special community – parents feel welcome in the home and included in their children’s care, while carers are treated as valuable family members.

$1.3 million has been provided for the pilot CaK program. It will be evaluated over the two-year period to measure its impact on the children and families, so it can be compared with other forms of family placement currently utilised by ADHC.

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