Ability Links NSW
Ability Links NSW (ALNSW) is a new way to support people with disability, their families and carers as part of the ongoing reforms of the disability services system in NSW. It provides people with a locally based first point of contact to support people to access supports and services in their local communities.
Ability Links NSW Coordinators, or “Linkers” as they are known, work with people with disability who are aged 9 to 64 years, their families and carers to help them plan for their future, build on their strengths and skills, and develop networks in their own communities so they can do what they want with their lives - outside of the traditional disability service system.
Linkers also work with local communities to help them become more welcoming and inclusive of people with disability.
Implementation and state wide expansion
Ability Links NSW launched in the Hunter area in July 2013 to align with the National Disability Insurance Scheme trial. Ability Links NSW has now expanded so that families in every part of NSW have access to a Linker. As part of the expansion ADHC met with Aboriginal community members and non government organisations to spread the word about Ability Links and to encourage Aboriginal non government organisations to participate in the tender process.
There is now 16 providers and joint working arrangements in place across NSW. Of these, 12 are Aboriginal non government organisations and joint working arrangements who have Aboriginal identified Linker positions. This means there are now 268 Linkers, of which 47 are Aboriginal identified positions, for people to connect with.
In addition, ADHC has asked that the generalist or mainstream providers have a broad range of diversity in their Linker teams to help reach all people in community. All Linkers are available to work with both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. Linkers will meet with people in their homes, in the community or in a range of office and community based locations across NSW.
Ability Links NSW (Generalist) providers are:
- The St Vincent de Paul Society in the Hunter New England and Central Coast Districts;
- UnitingCare NSW/ACT in partnership with Settlement Services International in Northern Sydney, Western Sydney, Nepean Blue Mountains, Illawarra Shoalhaven and Southern NSW Districts;
- The St Vincent de Paul Society in partnership with Settlement Services International in South Western Sydney, Sydney and South Eastern Sydney Districts; and
- North West Alliance (a partnership including Northern Rivers Social Development Council, Mid Coast Communities, Intereach, Pathfinders, CareWest and Murrumbidgee Medicare Local) in Hunter New England, Mid North Coast, Northern NSW, Murrimbidgee, Western NSW and Far West Districts.
Ability Links NSW (Aboriginal) Providers are:
- Barkuma Neighbourhood Centre;
- Kinchella Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation in partnership with Annecto – the People Network;
- Booroongen Djugun Limited;
- Deniliquin Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) in partnership with Orange LALC, Broken Hill LALC and Intereach;
- Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation;
- Kurranulla Aboriginal Corporation in partnership with Wyanga Aboriginal Care and Guriwal Aboriginal Corporation;
- National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation, Community Transport Network in a joint working arrangement with Advanced Community Solutions;
- Ngurrala Aboriginal Corporation;
- South Coast Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation;
- Sydney Region Aboriginal Corporation;
- Jaanimili (UnitingCare Children, Young People & Families) – in partnership with Yenu Allowah Aboriginal Child & Family Centre;
- Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre Incorporated.
Click Ability Links NSW Information Sheet (PDF) to locate a Linker in your area.
Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC), part of the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, have engaged Urbis Pty Ltd to conduct an evaluation of the Ability Links NSW program.
The evaluation will focus on the first three years of the model’s implementation, from July 2013 to June 2016. A key aspect of the evaluation is to ensure the people most influenced by this new model have input into the design and what the evaluation looks like. As a result, the focus of the evaluation is ‘learn as we go’.
Urbis will be looking at the lessons learnt from the initial establishment of Ability Links NSW (Aboriginal and General) in the Hunter region to inform the state-wide expansion of Ability Links NSW.
For more information about the Ability Links NSW evaluation and to view the evaluation reports, please visit Urbis’ Ability Links NSW evaluation website at www.abilitylinksevaluation.com.au