Kerry is a ball of energy and mischief … she is hard work but she is certainly a ray of sunshine for those who are close to her.
Two and a half years ago, on the eve of her 18th birthday and after months of discussions and promises that she would be moved to a group home in Coffs Harbour, Kerry was put in a home in Port Macquarie.
Her parents, Kristine and Tom, and long-time foster carer Jen Tredinnick, were devastated.
“Kerry was put in a four-bedroom house with another young lass but after a few months that changed and she was with three older women,” Jen said.
“Staff brought her up here on Tuesdays and then Kris and Tom went down there three times a year on Saturdays taking the train to Wauchope. It was a huge day out, but way too long for Kerry.
“The support workers were lovely but Kerry needed to be moved back to the only town she knows, where her family and support system is.
“Finally just before Christmas, thanks to the help of the regional manager of LiveBetter Community Services, Kellie Martin-Towers, and the acquisition of a house here under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Kerry was brought home. It was a wonderful result.”
“Kerry was very confused when she came back to Nambucca and her behaviour was difficult. Her carers need training because she is really clever and she can be really naughty.”
Jen, who is now Kerry’s legal guardian, responsible for her well-being, said NDIS assessors might be well-meaning but a lot don’t have very much insight into people with disabilities and their needs.
It’s great news she’s back through the NDIS but let’s hope they don’t cut her funding now that she’s achieved that goal.Jen Tredinnick, guardian
“The needs of people like Kerry are constantly changing. We need new equipment and therapies, things come up all the time and there needs to be flexibility in her package for that.”
Kristine and Tom are both on disability pensions and living independently. They are also trying to understand the workings of their NDIS packages.
Tom is hoping to find someone to help him read and learn to cook and hopes the NDIS can help him with that.
As someone who has worked in the area of disability services for 30 years, Jen said she was seeing the humanity being taken out of human services.
“There are a myriad of examples and it is often the little things … now with the NDIS, there is a lot of choice but also a heap of paperwork. The transition has been horrific for many families.”
Sim Madigan, Senior Marketing Officer for LiveBetter said while it was not possible to comment on individual’s plans, the NDIS did include training for staff supporting people with high and complex needs.
“Obviously we at LiveBetter provide and have ongoing training in this area and have dedicated clinicians to support participants, their families and carers,” Ms Madigan said.
“We have found the NDIS has tried very hard to pinpoint the goals and aspirations of individuals, and unfortunately for those living regionally, rurally and remotely this can be more challenging than in metropolitan areas.”
She said the workforce in disability services is expected to double in the next three years as the NDIS settles in.
“Finding quality staff for this increasing demand for services is a challenge.”