Faulty Community System Funding Programs for Adults with Disabilities Must End

Press release – IHC

New Zealand is once again calling on the government to overhaul an outdated system that determines which community programs adults with disabilities can access based on faulty assessments given to them as children. A case note published this week from…

New Zealand is once again calling on the government to overhaul an outdated system that determines which community programs adults with disabilities can access based on faulty assessments given to them as children.

A case note released this week by Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier highlighted a complaint from the parent of a disabled man whose high needs classification was made under the Permanent Resource Scheme (ORS) of the Ministry of Education while at school in 1999.

The Department of Social Development uses the ORS assessment to determine funding for community engagement services for people with disabilities from the time they leave school until age 65.

The 2022 IHC Inclusive Education Survey found that 99% of education professionals and 100% of healthcare professionals are calling for a complete overhaul of ORS.

IHC Advocacy Director Tania Thomas says that while she appreciates that MSD has taken on the task of resolving the individual case, the system needs a complete overhaul to support all adults with disabilities.

“We support the Chief Ombudsman’s statement that it is unreasonable that there is nothing in place to reassess funding for community involvement programs for people with disabilities once they leave school” , says Tania. “Adults should be reassessed to ensure they have equitable access based on their current needs.”

“If you have to take the needs of a 14-year-old and base it on what they have access to once they’ve finished school, it just doesn’t make sense.

“The funding for ORS was not broad enough in 1999 and it still isn’t today. We are bombarded at IHC with stories of students with disabilities in classrooms right now who cannot get ORS and who are underfunded and floundering. We also hear of families and schools at their wit’s end trying to get children with disabilities into the classroom, to learn, and to be included every day with very small amounts of money. When that fails, as it often does, families have to give up paid work to homeschool their child.

“Research published earlier this year showed that neurodiverse children are more likely to be suspended or suspended than the general population. This disparity disappears when the child receives SRO funding, so we know that better financial support for disabled and neurodiverse children is critical to their academic success.

“The ORS model is not suitable for school, nor after school, and so we are asking for a more flexible system that really takes into account what works for the individual.

“The new Ministry for People with Disabilities is born today. It should be a priority for them. »

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