Parliament: Questions Kelly's Asked

Novita Children’s Services

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for State/Local Government Relations, representing the Minister for Disability, a question about transitional arrangements for young people with disabilities at Novita Children’s Services.

Leave granted.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: Last Friday I had the pleasure of visiting Novita Children’s Services where I was given a tour of the Regency Park operations campus. I am a former client of Novita and recall the excellent services provided by the organisation, including special equipment and therapy services which assist people with disabilities to live more independently, the indoor pool which facilitates aquatic therapy for people with disabilities (both adults and children) and the toy and resource centre which holds specialised toys, books and software.

While Novita provides an excellent service, it is unfortunate that young people are effectively cut off from Novita at the age of 18 and are left to negotiate the disability services maze alone with very little support. Becoming an adult is, as we all know, daunting enough without the added burden of living with a disability, especially when the support of Novita is effectively taken away from you overnight.

I remember receiving a phone call from a lady from Disability SA when I turned 18 who said, ‘Hello. My name is Denise and I will be your case manager. Let me know if you need any support. I will check back every few weeks and make sure you’re doing okay.’ I never heard from dear old Denise again.

Novita itself is strapped for cash and currently deriving 45 per cent of its income from fundraising and investment returns and simply does not have the resources to fund a transitional program or extend its services to young people over 18 years of age. My questions are:

  1. What services or programs does the government provide to help young people with disabilities deal with the transition from childhood to adulthood?
  2. Will the government provide additional funding for Novita to run a program to assist young people with this transition?
  3. Will the government provide additional funding for Novita to extend its services to young adults between the ages of 18 and 22?