Citizen Advocacy Western Sydney (CAWS).
I am a volunteer advocate for a couple of people with intellectual disabilities (protégés) and a private guardian for another. They were all State Wards and live in ADHC group homes.
At the moment my protégés and I are supported by a group called Citizen Advocacy Western Sydney (CAWS).
CAWS provides independent help and information to help assist protégés and advocates with issues that may arise causing concern for the protégés, including unscrupulous service providers.
At the moment people with intellectual disabilities are able to have independent, unpaid volunteers to assist with their issues through organisations like CAWS.
I am very concerned that when the NDIS rolls out, the funding to these advocacy groups will cease and this would mean that people with intellectual disabilities & their volunteer advocates will not have an independent body to turn to for advise and help.
NDIS seems to have been set up more for people with physical disabilities and does not take into account that people with intellectual disabilities may not have the mental capabilities to make life-changing decisions.
Unpaid advocates, who are independent and will only act in the interested of their protégés, need to continue and be fully supported by advocacy groups like CAWS.
When NDIS comes along, funding will be given to the individual to make decisions. These decisions maybe with the help of a family member or a guardian. What about those who were State Wards and have been in institutions all of their lives …no independent person helping them to make decisions? Decisions on support services will be left up to their support (accommodation) companies ..which could well lead to unscrupulous behaviour.
Please address the volunteer advocacy situation …we are needed.