The rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is requiring parents and carers of children with a disability to make critical decisions around their support and funding needs, which are increasing the demands for disability support case co-ordinators.
A program developed by Learning Links and supported by nib foundation will help meet this rapidly growing demand by ultimately empowering parents and carers to become their own case co-ordinators.
The two-day 'Parents as Case Co-ordinators (PaCC) - Train the Trainer' workshop is being conducted in Newcastle for 18 health professionals that will become certified to deliver the seven-week program to parents and carers in the Hunter region on an ongoing basis.
The training program covers a range of support areas including goal setting, conflict management, advocacy, writing individual family service plans and resource management.
Learning Links' Chief Executive, Kate Frost, said the program is set to play an important role in filling what is becoming a widening service gap in the Hunter's disability sector.
"There are some families that, through circumstances, will require individual case management services, but we see many more come through Learning Links who, with the right guidance, not only have the capacity but are more than willing to undertake this role themselves," Ms Frost said.
"The introduction of the NDIS has resulted in the waiting list for these services to increase dramatically, and we hope that this program will not only reduce these cues but also ensure that management services are allocated to those that need it the most."
The first of the two-day course was conducted in Newcastle on 8 April with the second being held today.
Program presenter, Katie Davis, said the response from the program participants after the first day of the workshop was very positive.
"Each of our participants saw great potential in what we are delivering with the program and how it will benefit many families across the region," Ms Davis said.
"In addition, it helped them better define their own role as a case manager. It provided them with the confidence and reinforcement of their own knowledge to pass on to the parents and carers of a child with a disability," Ms Davies said.
nib foundation Chairman, Mr Keith Lynch, said supporting this type of program was at the heart of the foundation's funding charter.
"Our funding of this program is building the capacity of our local disability support services and providing them with the skills to deliver PaCC and to better support families," Mr Lynch said.
"It is a win, not only for those who will engage directly with the program, but also the many more families that will receive case management services quicker as a result of relief in demand it will provide."
Day two of the PaCC workshop will take place at Noah's on the Beach, Cnr Shortland Esplanade and Zaara Street, Newcastle, from 10.00am.