Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 (Hansard) 16 May) . . Page.. 1440 ..
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY QUESTION
QUESTION NUMBER 211
Children with Disabilities - Outside School Hours Programs
(1) Who decides whether a child with a disability is given extra assistance to attend an after school hours program.
(2) How is the decision made to withdraw support after a child has been attending a centre.
(3) What happens to children who are either not accepted in programs in the first place, or after a period of time rejected.
MR STEFANIAK - the answer to Ms McRae's question is:
(1) Funded outside school hours care services can request support to integrate a child with disabilities from the Commonwealth funded Integration Team in their area. The Integration Team will then assess the level of initial and ongoing support required to integrate the child. However, in practice, the level of support given to services is also dependant upon the availability of funding resources.
(2) Integration teams are funded by the Commonwealth to provide support workers whose role is to train and support staff in services to integrate children with disabilities, not to provide ongoing "hands-on" support. Generally, after an initial settling in period the Integration Team will withdraw their support. The length of the support varies according to the level of additional support required by individual children.
(3) Children with disabilities are able to be integrated into outside school hours care programs provided that the child's needs can be met and licence standards maintained without compromising the service's duty of care to all children in the program. A child with very high additional needs requiring one-to-one support may not be able to be placed in an outside school hours care program without additional staffing or some changes being made to the physical fit-out of the premises.
This gap in services for children with high support needs has been identified as an important issue to be addressed in the child care reform agenda of the Council of Australian Governments.