Ageing, Disability & Home Care

Supported Decision Making projects

Ageing, Disability and Home Care’s Supported Decision Making Pilot

In a joint initiative with the NSW Trustee and Guardian and the Public Guardian the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), Ageing Disability and Home Care (ADHC), conducted a small scale pilot project in 2013/14 to explore what supported decision making might look like in practice in the NSW context.

The aims of the pilot project were to learn:

  • more about how supported decision making relationships work
  • what tools and resources are useful
  • what issues may need to be considered for the broader application of a supported decision making framework.

ADHC’S SDM pilot received a positive mention in the United Nations’ Concluding Observations on the initial report of Australia on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2013.

Further Information On The Pilot

The My life, my decision independent evaluation of the pilot noted that it demonstrated SDM could be successful for a diverse group of people with disability and varied support needs and circumstances. Further, the pilot demonstrated that it was possible to enhance the legal capacity of a number of people with disability to make their own decisions and deliver on the intent of Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (NCRPD) to recognise their legal capacity

As a result of the pilot and evaluation recommendations, FACS has facilitated the following projects:

Advancing Supported Decision Making Project

This capacity building project builds on the Supported Decision Making (SDM) Pilot through embedding SDM practices within the Ability Links and Early Links programs. The project is a partnership between the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW and Uniting Jaanimili by exploring a SDM practice and approach within Ability Links in Metro South region and Early Links with their local Aboriginal communities in the South Western Sydney and Western Sydney / Nepean Blue Mountains with Linker Teams and Birrung Gurung Case Management Intensive Family Support Service, respectively.

Both service providers developed a range of tools and resources.  St Vincent de Paul Society developed ‘My Story So Far’, an Easy Read template to gather information about people’s skills and experiences to date. Uniting Jaanimili developed ‘My Life Plan’ which is used with all participants and it includes real life stories of families that have been supported, flowcharts and questionnaires that staff can use when working with families.

Read more about the Advancing Supported Decision Making

Financial Decision Making And Financial Literacy Skill Development

NSW Public Guardian in partnership with NSW Trustee and Guardian has been delivering a Supported Decision Making (SDM) Project as a follow up to ADHC’s SDM Pilot.  The project has two parts: the training component, which is focused on enhancing sector capacity, and developed an ‘Introduction to supported decision making’ full day workshop for service providers. The training is free and includes the promotion of a SDM model that aims to build decision making ability. The training is complimented by a number of information sheets that highlight the importance of knowing the person, communication and the role of friends and family when providing support for decision making.  There is also a Train the Trainer component for those interested in being champions of SDM in their workplace and beyond. The financial decision making component of the project is working with participants and their supporters to see how the principles of SDM apply to financial decision making by developing their capability through financial literacy training, and looking at how they can be supported to take more of a role in their financial affairs.   The project is being independently evaluated.

For further information on the project, please telephone [02] 8688 5994 or email

Rights Project For People With Disability

The NSW Ombudsman is delivering the ‘Rights project for people with disability’, a capacity-building project to develop a practical framework that enables people with disability and their supporters to better understand and exercise their rights in the transition to the NDIS across three main areas:

  • empowering people with disability to understand and exercise their rights;
  • promoting accessible complaint systems and practices among NSW government agencies and disability service providers;
  • strengthening systems to prevent, identify and respond to abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability.

The project has:

For further information about this project please contact:

Carol Berry - [02] 9286 1086 or email:

Decisions, Decisions…Supported Decision Making Workshops

Carers NSW and Mirri Mirri jointly delivered workshops in metropolitan and regional areas of NSW for both young people with disability (14 to 18 years) and their family and/or carers. Since August 2016 Mirri Mirri began delivering the workshops exclusively to young people in schools in metropolitan and regional areas of NSW, independently from their family and/or carers. The workshops are delivered in the school setting and within school hours. They aim to provide young people with the tools and confidence in the decision making process by immersing them in a program of fun, interactive and thought provoking activities that enhance communication, confidence and decision making skills.

NSW Carers will be rolling out a series of workshops for family members and/or carers, incorporating supported decision making from April 2017 – June 2018.

For further information on this project please contact:

Mirri Mirri -

Carers NSW - [02] 9280 4744 or email

The Ability Project (Tap)

CREATE Foundation is collaborating with FACS-ADHC to develop capacity building activities aimed towards building the skills of young people with disability in the Leaving Care Program (LCP), their family or carers in preparation for transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The LCP supports young people with disability in out of home care (OOHC) to transition from the parental responsibility of the Minister for Family and Community Services to live as independently as possible within the community. TAP also provides training to build the capacity of supporters or carers in using and implementing a Supported Decision Making approach.  In the first year of the project, CREATE delivered numerous workshops and events, and developed Voice Your Choice – a 15 minute training video designed for anyone who is caring for, supporting or working with a young person with disability in OOHC or preparing to leave care. The training tool can be used to support in-house training on supported decision making approaches to working with people with disability or as a taster to CREATE’s three-hour Voice Your Choice training workshop for carers, support workers or caseworkers working with young people with a disability in OOHC.

For further information on this project, access the resources or the list of workshops and events please email or telephone [02] 9267 0977, or go to CREATE’s website:

Developing and Piloting a Continuum Approach to Decision Making, At The Kanangra Centre (Morisset)

The project is being undertaken in partnership between FACS, St Vincent de Paul and La Trobe University and is piloting support for decision making approaches for people who live in FACS Large Residential Centres. The goal is to ensure that all people are provided with the support they require to exercise optimal choice and control in decision making, regardless of their decision making capacity and existing supports as well as address some of the disadvantage experienced by people who live in LRCs, including isolation from social support, limited ability to exercise choice and restricted life experiences that can impact upon their capacity to make decisions.

The project has produced the Support for Decision Making Practice Framework which aims to lay foundations to guide practice for decision making supporters of people with cognitive disability. The framework will also be a useful resource for families, carers, support workers and guardians on how to optimise opportunities for people with cognitive disability to make decisions and have greater control over their lives. Enabling people with cognitive disability to direct their own decisions will only happen if supporters have high expectations that people can participate in decision making and have strong commitments to make this happen.

The project is midway through its implementation and is currently being evaluated through an action research approach.

For further information about this project please email or

Assisted Boarding House Capacity Building Project (The Elpis Project)

Neami National delivered 75 capacity building workshops to over 300 Assisted Boarding House (ABH) residents between April and November 2016. The workshops supported residents to explore their strengths and values, improve decision making and communication skills, develop resilience strategies, and increase health literacy. An additional 5 workshops were run for ABH managers and staff to improve their knowledge and skills in supporting residents. A range of policies, including a code of conduct and positive behaviour support policy, and fact sheets were also developed to support ABH operations. On completion of the project (March 2017), 30 ABH staff will have completed Mental Health First Aid training, and 22 will obtain Food Handling Certificates.

For further information about this project please contact:

Naomi Green – 0421 858 460 or email

Risk Enablement Training Project

In partnership with FACS-ADHC and the NSW Trustee and Guardian, La Trobe University Living with Disability Research Centre will develop and evaluate a risk enablement training package for support organisations and their staff working with people with cognitive disability. The project will have a co-design approach with service providers to the development of the training. The package will include a face-to-face component and an e-learning module to promote positive risk taking for people with disability. La Trobe Living with Disability Research Centre will also explore the attainment of accreditation for the training as a unit of competency. The training package will be delivered by the NSW Public Guardian.

For more information on this project please contact:

Prof Christine Bigby – [03] 9479 1016 or email

Strengthening Decision Making Of Aborignal People And Their Communities

This project is a partnership approach of the Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation, South Coast Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation and Uniting Jaanimili to build on existing work undertaken through the Advancing Supported Decision Making project and explore best practice approaches to strengthen the decision making capacity of Aboriginal people with disability, and their supporters. The project includes a co-design approach to the development of culturally appropriate resources and approaches to supporting decisions and in the development of workshops for Linkers and Services Our Way teams

For more information on this project please contact:

Uniting Jaanimili – [02] 8796 9708 or email

Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation – [02] 4276 1878 or email -

South Coast Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation -

Consumer Awareness and Protection Initiative Project

The Consumer Awareness and Protection Initiative (CAPI) project is being undertaken by NSW Fair Trading and it aims to build the capacity of people with disability, and the disability sector, to make informed decisions when entering the NSW marketplace. Many people with disability have limited experience and confidence when purchasing goods and services. Through a state-wide community education program NSW Fair Trading seeks to empower consumers’ knowledge about their rights under the Australian Consumer Law and the protective actions they can take if things go wrong.

For more information on this project please contact:

Emma Bedwin – [02]9895 0051 or email

Skilled to Thrive Project

The NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS), in partnership with FACS-ADHC is delivering the Skilled to Thrive project to build the capacity of Advocacy and Information providers to respond to a changing funding and service delivery environment so that people with disability have continued access to safeguarding supports during transition to the NDIS. A range of safeguarding models are being piloted that focus on the needs of people with limited or no natural supports and / or complex support needs to develop and build decision making skills.

For further information on this project please contact:

Natalie Bishop – [02] 8960 7928 or email

Information, Linkages and Referral Hub Project

The Information on Disability and Education Awareness Services (IDEAS) has implemented a tailored, localised information and connection hub to support people with disability during transition to the NDIS across NSW including hard to reach cohorts. The project also includes the development and maintenance of information to ensure relevance and accuracy to enable people to make informed decisions.

For further information on this project please contact:

IDEAS on 1800 029 904 (Toll Free) or email or visit where you can connect directly with IDEAS via live chat online.

Sexual Lives: Respectful Relationships Project

In partnership with Network of Women With Disability (NWWD), Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association (MDAA) is delivering the Sexual Lives and Respectful Relationships (SL&RR) project in NSW. SL:RR is a peer- led relationship and violence and abuse prevention program for people with intellectual disability, with a focus on women. SL&RR takes a rights-based approach to issues of sexuality and respectful relationships.  The project has been developed by Deakin University in response to the findings of ongoing research and evaluation.

The project also seeks to build the capacity of mainstream services (eg Family Planning, Community Health, Sexual Assault and Women’s Health services) around sexual health and prevention of violence against people with a disability. Mainstream services co-facilitate program sessions and provide specific information and skills as required. The cross-sectoral partnering that this involves strengthens the capacity of services to work in this area.

The project is being undertaken in NSW in partnership with Deakin University and people with disability who are trained as peer educators. The NSW project has networks established in Blacktown and Liverpool Local Government Areas and will also be expanding to the Nepean/Blue Mountains Local Government Area.

The end date for the program is June 2018.

For further information on this project please contact:

Zhila Hasanloo (MDAA) – [02] 9891 6400 or email

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