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 such as information booklets and flyers about SDM for participants and natural supporters, and reflecting tools such as videos, timelines and journaling. 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.

This project has been independently evaluated and the link to the evaluation is here.

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. Forty training events were successfully completed, reaching 2,000 disability services staff. To complement the training a number of resources and information sheets highlighted the importance knowing the person, communication and the role of friends and family when providing support for decision making. Sessions also included 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 has been independently evaluated and the link to the evaluation is here

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:

  • Developed a consolidated list of resources from across Australia and internationally that are relevant to upholding the rights of people with disability. This is available here
  • Developed a range of practical and targeted resources for people with disability in a variety of formats, including ‘Speak up’ – a revision of the Rights Stuff Toolkit to reflect the NDIS landscape. A total of 45 ‘Speak Up’ workshops were delivered across the state, with further sessions scheduled into 2017.
  • Developed detailed versions of the package for a variety of audiences, and delivered the first presentation in May 2016, at the Stockton Centre in Newcastle. Since then, the priority is to deliver this training to people with disability living in large residential centres and group homes.
  • Launched the ‘My Rights to be Heard’ video and Tip Sheet to improve the understanding of government agencies and disability service providers about person centred complaint handling.

For further information about this project please contact:

Christine Regan

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.

From July 2017, the TAP project entered its third phase of delivery until June 2018.

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:

To view a copy of the independent evaluation of the CREATE Ability Project Year 2 (TAP 2) by Southern Cross University click here.

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.

For further information about this project please email

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

The Child Safe Organisations project

The Child Safe Organisations project focuses on the development of training and resources to increase the understanding and development of good child safe policies and to reduce potential environmental risks and keep children safer in those environments. The Project includes legislative requirements, targeting OCG Child Safe Training to disability organisations and development of resources. The resources developed will be to support parents and carers understanding of Working With Children Check (WWCC) requirements and child safe practices particularly in the transition to the NDIS. FACS is collaborating with the Office of Children’s Guardian to deliver a Child Safe Organisation Project which will focus on building the child safe capacity of funded disability service providers, including Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse service providers.

The Office of Children’s Guardian has developed child safe training specifically for providers of services to children with disability.The SpaceSafe resources can be found here.

To complement the SAFESpace face-to-face training, the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian has also launched a suite SAFESpace eLearning packages including an elearning module which can be accessed here.

For further enquiries about this project and its resources, please telephone Caryn Millward on 02 9286 7264 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 in two modules:

Module 1: Focuses on the individual and their decisions, the people that are supported and the impact of support workers being overly risk averse or managing risk for individuals.

Module 2: Brings together all the conceptual elements of what risk enablement means and why it is important to invest in it. Demonstrates what it means to be collaborative and person centred in a practical way, and what strategies are of use.

The NSW Public Guardian is offering free tailored workshops for disability services staff to promote the decision making rights of people with disability. Further information on these workshops can be accessed here.

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 (SDMAP)

This project was 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 included 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 on Supported Decision Making please visit

Consumer Awareness & Protection Peer Support (CAPPS) project

The CAPPS project is a peer-led project to build the capacity of people with disability to make informed decisions when entering the NSW marketplace and to educate them about their rights under the Australian Consumer Law. It complements the Consumer Awareness and Protection Initiative (CAPI) project currently being undertaken in NSW by NSW Fair Trading.

The project is being conducted with five key partner organisations: NSW Council of Intellectual Disability (NSW CID), Community Disability Alliance Hunter (CDAH), Ethnic Community Services Co-operative, Diversity and Disability Alliance (DDA), and BEING (previously NSW Mental Health Awareness Consumer Advisory).

People with disability will undertake a  co-facilitator role alongside NSW Fair Trading staff to provide practical advice on consumer rights such as how to enter and negotiate a Service Agreement (contract) with a provider for NDIS funded supports, understanding Service Agreement terms and conditions, consumer rights and that it’s OK to complain when 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

Sexual Lives and Respectful Relationships (Part 2 – for people with Acquired Brain Injury)

ILC project - Sexual Lives and Respectful Relationships (SL:RR) will engage and train people with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) to become peer educators and deliver the SL&RR program to a chosen cohort, women with an ABI who have experienced domestic violence and have had involvement with the justice system, alongside program partner, Deakin University, and key stakeholders: Guthrie House, NSW Department of Justice, Family and Community Services and the Women’s Justice Network.

In addition, Synapse will work in partnership with Guthrie House, a residential program for women involved in the criminal justice system, to engage with participants, key stakeholders and related services that support women with an ABI who have experienced domestic violence and have had involvement with the justice system to conduct research and/or develop appropriate resources to better inform and ensure successful outcomes and build the capacity of mainstream services and organisations to respond to the needs of this cohort around sexual health and prevention of violence and abuse against people with ABI.

For further information on this project please contact Patsie Frawley on [03] 5227853 or email

Information Sessions for “Hard to Reach” Locations and Communities in preparation for the NDIS

Nine existing NSW Disability and Information Services have been funded to deliver information sessions on NDIS preparation to “hard to reach” locations and communities. This project targets rural and remote geographic locations and isolated communities, individuals and families. The information sessions will be held across NSW in areas which have been identified as having information gaps and isolated communities/individuals such as the blind and deaf/blind communities who have limited accessible information on the NDIS.

For more information about these information sessions please contact:




Target Group

Far West, Western NSW and Mid North Coast

Disability Advocacy NSW (Advocacy Law Alliance)

Phone: 1300 365 088 or Email:

people with disability in hard to reach locations and communities

Murrumbidgee District

Disability Advocacy and Information Service Albury & Ethnic Community Services Co-operative Ltd partnership

Phone: (02) 6056 2420 or Email:  or

Phone: (02) 9569 1288 or Email

People with disability from CALD) backgrounds, people living in small towns and rural areas who have limited access to information, and Aboriginal communities

Kyogle, Clarence Valley, Casino, Grafton, Murwillumbah, Mullumbimby and Far North coast towns

Disability and Aged Information Services Inc (DAISI)

Phone: 1800 800 340 or Email:

People who may be eligible for the NDIS and who have had difficulty accessing or understanding the NDIS

Illawarra Shoalhaven District

Ethnic Community Services Co-operative

Phone: (02) 9569 1288 or Email

Hard-to-reach people with disability from CALD backgrounds

Western NSW, Moree

First Peoples Disability Network (Australia) Ltd

Phone: (02) 8399 0882

Aboriginal people with disabilities, their families and communities

Northern Sydney, Central Coast, Hunter and Mid North Coast

Royal Institute for Deaf & Blind Children (RIDBC)

Phone: (02) 9872 0276 or Email:

People with hearing impairment, vision impairment and people who are deafblind and their families

Western NSW, Northern NSW & Murrumbidgee District

Parents of Deaf Children (PODC)

Phone: (02) 9871 3049 or Email:

Families of deaf children in NSW in Hard to Reach locations

Western Sydney, Northern Sydney and Northern NSW

The Deaf Society

Phone: (02) 8833 3600 or Email:

People who are deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing and their families

Metropolitan Sydney, Illawarra and Southern Highlands, Northern NSW, Southern NSW, Western NSW, Hunter and Central Coast

Vision Australia

Phone: 9334 3284 (ask for FACS funded NDIS sessions)

NDIS eligible blind and low vision clients, along with deaf/blind people aged 65 years and under, and their families and carers

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