This morning Joy Burch kicked things off by announcing she was going to scope out the demand for after-school care and holiday programs for older children with a disability.
(Experience suggests the demand for services provided free can be near-infinite)
“The ACT Government recognises that there is interest across the community for such services, and that there are additional challenges for parents of children with a disability,” Ms Burch said.
“That is why I have asked the ACT Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services to commission this work, which will include stakeholder consultation andseek to identify the extent of any demand and options for the delivery and location of a service.”
Ms Burch said the business case would outline resource implications for the options identified. The ACT Government already provides funding for some after school care and vacation activities for young people with a disability.
In response the Greens’ Meredith Hunter is pushing for it all to happen right away:
“Current need is not being met, some parents are unable to work, others are placed under considerable stress locating special transport services to after care places,” Ms Hunter said.
“A simple and much more cost effective solution is to establish services at the four special schools Woden, Black Mountain, Cranleigh and Malkara.
“Keeping after-school care on site makes sense; facilities are purpose built and children would not need to be transported across Canberra.
“This solution is cost effective and was raised by Carers ACT in their budget submission. Tandem Respite also addressed the need for after school care, seeking budget funding for a community option. Our calls are also supported by parents.
“When questioned about this cost effective and simple solution endorsed by all stakeholders, Minister Burch responded to say she will engage a consultant to ‘establish a costed business case’.
“This amounts to an unnecessary six month delay while many families experience real hardship.
Perhaps as this hardship has been endured for many years it would make sense to do it right?