Respite and funding options
If you are the parent or care giver of a child or adult with a disability, caring for yourself may be low on your list of priorities. You may feel that taking time out for yourself is a luxury but you can not look after your family if you are run down, depressed or overworked.
A study of resilient mothers of children with an intellectual disability was done by the Family Counselling and Pastoral Care Service. They found that all resilient mothers that participated in the study consciously attempted to take care of themselves by recognising their needs and doing something about them.
If you are a parent or caregiver you can benefit yourself and everybody around you by taking a break.
There are many ways in which respite can be provided and services will vary from region to region. But some examples of respite options include:
In home respite - A paid worker provides assistance and support to a person with a disability in their own home. Every Local Government Area (LGA) has a Home and Community Care (HACC) program that provides respite for people with a disability.
Emergency respite - Annecto can provide an emergency after-hours response service (EARS) 24/7 short term personal care, respite, crisis management, telephone support & in-home support.
Host Carers - This type of program recruits volunteer host carers and matches them to a child with a disability. The host cares for the child on a regular basis, ideally one weekend a month, in their own home, although care arrangements can be flexible.
Facility based respite - Facility based respite can be a planned experience or accessed in an emergency. Respite stays may range from one night through to an extended period.
Flexible respite/brokerage - Flexible Care Programs provide people with disabilities and their families access to respite care within the family home or out and about in the community. 'Brokerage' is often available to pay for this type of respite (see funding avenues below).
Holidays and vacation care - During holiday periods service providers often provide additional recreational programs for children/adults with a disability.
Family retreat opportunities - There are a number of houses available that offer short-term holiday respite for carers (and their families) who support people with a disability. These houses often provide a great opportunity for one or more families to go away together. Here are just a few:
Out of school hours - After school care and school holiday programs, additional recreational programs and camps are available for children with a disability. Mainstream out of school hours programs receive assistance from Inclusion Support Programs to include children with special needs.
Recreational options - Recreation programs offer a fun experience for people with a disability, while also providing parents and carers with a break.
Respite Victoria - Respite and carer support services are provided throughout Victoria by a range of different organisations. It can be difficult to know where to start when you first consider accessing respite, need support as a carer or even when you move to a new area. The Respite Victoria website links you to the 8 regional disability respite websites in Victoria - an interactive regions map helps you find your regions respite services.
MEDIA RELEASE (21/5/12) : Innovative respite support and school holiday respite providers announced
Find a Carer - The Find A Carer website Are you looking for a Disability Carer for an adult or child with special needs, or some respite care on a casual basis? Find a Carer is a quick, easy and affordable way to find local and experienced Carers ready to assist.
It can be difficult to ask for help, but there are services, funding packages and support available for families of children with a disability and you deserve to access these services and receive assistance.
Follow the links below to find the assistance you need.
- Centrelink Disability & Carer's paymentsfact sheets
- Centrelink Disability & Carer payment rates i.e. Carer Allowance, Carer Payment & Healthcare Card - Ph: 13 6150
- DHS Disability Services - information about Individual Support packages and the different types of supports available for families and carers of people with a disability
- SWEP (State Wide Equipment Program) formerly Aids & Equipment Program Ph: 1300 74 7937
- Scope Communication Resource Centre - The Communication Resource Centre provides information, advice, resources and services relating to the many different aspects of communication disabilities. Ph: (03) 9843 3000
- Continence Assistance - Ph: 9816 8266
- Electronic Communication Devices Scheme - Comtec at Yoorallla Ph: 9362 6154
- Association for Children with a Disability publications Through the Maze and Learning to Lead help you navigate the services available
- Ambulance Victoria - Ambulance travel is free if you have a healthcare card or a pension card. Contact Ambulance Victoria on 1800 648 484 for more information
- Victorian College of Optometry - Disabilities clinic provides optometric services to people with intellectual, physical, sensory and/or multiple disabilities. Queries - Mr Piers Carozzi Ph: 03 9349 7400
- The Victorian patient transport assistance scheme (VPTAS) subsidises the travel and commercial accommodation costs incurred by rural Victorians, who have no option but to travel a long distance to receive approved medical specialist services.
- Carer Card- The Victorian Government Card program - The program has a wide range of discounts and benefits on offer from businesses, the local government and community organisations.You can apply online.
- Companion Card - The Companion Card allows a companion of a person with a significant and permanent disability (like Down syndrome) to attend community venues and activities (ie. Cinemas)and travel on public transport for free as long as they are accompanying a person with a disability.
- Disabled Persons Parking Scheme - Visit the Vicroads website for more information. Families of children with Down syndrome may be eligible for a Parking Permit under Category one, Code B. Alternatively if your child has mobility or chronic health issues, you may qualify under other categories.
Financial support for disability: navigating the system by Raising Children Network
Grants for carers returning to work
Victoriaworks for carers returning to work is a grant program to help carers meet the costs associated with retraining such as, books and materials, course fees, transport, childcare, and respite care etc. For more information visit the website or phone: 1800 110 109.
The services that can provide you with respite and funding vary depending on what DHS region you live in.
If you are unsure of which DHS region you live in follow the link to a site that lists all Victorian suburbs with their DHS region.