Changes coming to disabled services
There are major changes coming to the way in which disabled people and their wha¯ nau can gain access to the services and supports they need to enable them to live full and meaningful lives, according to Lorna Sullivan, director of disabled persons & whanau support for Mana Whaikaha.
“The new disability support system, Mana Whaikaha, will begin in the Mid-Central DHB region on October 1. This is being described as a ‘prototype’ as we try, learn and adjust the processes designed to give the disabled person and their wha¯ nau greater authority over how they wish to live their lives and how they want any disability support funds to be spent.
“Mana Whaikaha is based on the Enabling Good Lives vision and principles. The old system of Needs Assessment or NASC will no longer exist. Instead, people will be able to work with a connector or kaitu¯ hono to support them to think about what their hopes and aspirations are for their lives, what resources might be available within communities and families to support these aspirations, and what resources might need to come from government-funded supports,” she said.
“Mana Whaikaha also signals a change in the way any government-funded supports can be used, with the decisions over how the funding gets used, what supports are provided, who provides these supports and when they are provided being determined by the disabled person and their wha¯ nau. This makes a shift from all funding being paid to providers of services and people being required to fit into the programmes and services offered, to disabled people and their families and support networks deciding where and what supports to purchase.
“For people living in the Tararua region there will be an opportunity for you to learn more about Mana Whaikaha and these changes by attending a forum at Tararua College Library on October 18 at 5.30pm. You will be able to hear more about how the system will work and to get to meet some of the connectors or kaitu¯ hono who will be working in the Tararua region,” she said.
“There are 1600 people in MidCentral who use disability support services and the new system, Mana Whaikaha, is designed to provide them with more control and decision making over their lives and support,” said Linda Skates, senior communications adviser, Ministry of Health.
The new system, Mana Whaikaha, has been co-designed over the past 18 months with disabled people and wha¯ nau, and others in the disability sector. It is based on the Enabling Good Lives vision and principles* and aims to:
■ provide disabled people and wha¯ nau more support options
■ give disabled people and wha¯ nau greater decision making over their support
■ improve outcomes for disabled people and wha¯ nau
■ create a cost-effective disability support system.
Disabled people and wha¯ nau have been calling for change for a long time with their lives having to fit around allocated disability support services, spread over too many places:
■ the current system provides one-size fits all support
■ support and funding is fragmented
■ it’s been about what the system needs (eg assessments for eligibility), not the disabled person and their wha¯ nau
■ disabled people have poorer life outcomes than many other New Zealanders
■ there are rising costs — and unclear evidence about cost effectiveness.
Try, learn, adjust
A ‘try, learn and adjust’ approach is being taken with the prototype.
Disabled people, wha¯ nau, providers, workforce, government agencies, and staff will provide feedback on what’s working and further opportunities to improve the disability support system.
Who is eligible?
To be able to use the new disability support system, Mana Whaikaha, you will:
1. Live in the MidCentral DHB region, which includes Tararua district.
2. Have a disability:
■ which is physical, intellectual, sensory or ASD, or a combination of these
■ that is likely to continue for at least six months
■ that limits your ability to function independently, to the extent ongoing support is required
■ be under 65 years old, in most cases
■ be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.
More detailed information on Disability Support Services criteria can be found here: www.health.govt.nz/yourhealth/services-and-support/ disability-services/gettingsupport-disability/am-i-eligibleministry-funded-supportservices*.
3. In addition, all children and young people in MidCentral with developmental delay are eligible for intensive early intervention support. This means a diagnosis is not required for children and young people with developmental delay to be eligible. It is recognised that early access to support can have a significant positive impact on future outcomes.
The key features of Mana Whaikaha, the new system, are:
■ People are welcomed into the system in multiple ways, and can then be provided with information, and linked with a connector, peer network, government agency or disability organisation
■ Connectors are an ally for disabled people and their wha¯ nau, who can walk alongside, if wanted, to help identify what they would like in their lives, how to build that life and the range of supports.
■ Easy to use information and processes.
■ Seamless support across government — one place to find out information about all disability support and assistance to connect to other government support.
■ A straightforward process for accessing funding, with flexibility about what can be purchased and easy reporting on how funding has been used.
■ Capability funding for disabled people and wha¯ nau, with decisions made by the MidCentral Regional Governance Group.
■ Greater system accountability to disabled people and their wha¯ nau who are involved in monitoring and evaluating the system, and making recommendations.
The Government has allocated $23.842 million over two years to implement the prototype in MidCentral, and to continue the Waikato and Christchurch demonstrations.
■ Contact Mana Whaikaha from October 1 by: Call — 0800 626 255 or 0800 MANA 255 (live on 1 October.) Email — firstname.lastname@example.org Website — www.manawhaikaha.co.nz (live on October 1.) * Enabling Good Lives vision and principles
MEMBERS of the MidCentral Leadership group, others in the disability sector, and Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni and Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter in Palmerston North.