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Your Stories is giving you the opportunity to reflect on and share your experiences about what it’s been like to work in the disability sector.

You might have a funny anecdote, an uplifting experience with a colleague or a moving encounter that you would like to share. Take a look below at some of the stories already received. We’d love to hear from you too. Share your story.

Featured Story

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Your Stories

E-Book

 

The Your Stories project has given a voice to a broad range of FACS disability staff including staff with disability, frontline staff, staff in management roles, staff who work in central office roles as well as senior executives. Everyone has one thing in common: a commitment to supporting people with disability and each other.

All the stories submitted up to the end of 2017 have been compiled into the Your Stories e-book which you can now download.

Your Story Videos

Craig Maynard, Behaviour Support Practitioner Video


Craig Maynard, Behaviour Support Practitioner

Craig is a Behaviour Support Practitioner in the Hunter-New England District. In his video Craig speaks about his experiences working for the NSW Government in the disability sector as well as his hopes for the future. Press play to watch Craig’s video.

Claire Lin, Administration Assistant Video


Claire Lin, Administration Assistant

Claire is an Administration Assistant within the Community Access directorate of ADHC, Central Office. In her video, Claire discusses what working for the NSW Government in the disability sector has meant for her. Press play to watch Claire’s video.

Maxine Mackay, Casework Consultant Video


Maxine Mackay, Casework Consultant

Maxine is a Casework Consultant in the Western District. In her video Maxine talks about her experiences working for ADHC/the NSW Government in the disability sector. Press play to watch Maxine’s video.

Recently submitted stories

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Leone Joy

Manager Working Together

I started working for the Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care (DADHC) in April 2007 in Central Office. It’s hard for me to comprehend that it’s been more than 10 years!

Back when I started, ‘disability’ was little more than a word to me. My life had given me limited exposure to people with disability. But working in Community Access, I had a lot to learn and quickly became committed to the people we were supporting and the work we were doing.

Over the past ten years I’ve had some extraordinary experiences and been fortunate enough to get to know many people with disability. A lot of us who worked in Central Office never get to have that opportunity and I really appreciate it.

The projects and achievements I’m most proud of while I’ve worked in ADHC include:

  • Leading the 2011/12 Living Life My Way consultations that had a direct line of achievement to the NDIS in NSW
  • Creating the Living Life My Way Ambassadors and Champion Program that had such positive outcomes for everyone impacted by it, especially the people with disability who were the ambassadors and champions
  • Working with Nattlie Smith and Dr Chris Sarra to develop and run the Aboriginal Career Transition Program that helped 45 Aboriginal staff from across NSW to take control of what’s happening for them

With all the ups and downs, it’s been a privilege to work in ADHC with the amazing people I’ve met. I know I’m a better person because I’ve had these experiences.

Thank you to everyone who’s been a part of my journey.

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Jamie Vincent

Disability Support Worker

I started working in a group home back in 1990 at Wrights Rd Kellyville. I was young and a very green Youth worker at the time. I really didn't know what I was getting myself in to, but I gave it ago and really enjoyed the challenge of working with people with very serous behaviour issues and mental health issues.

I have worked with two of the gentlemen for the entire time I've been in the department - which is back then we were called YACS (Youth and Community services). I have seen more than a couple of name changes within the department over the years.

I have had some really good times and some very sad times in the department but mostly good times. When you can see a real positive change in someone’s life and to see them grow and learn new skills, some very slowly but still it is fantastic to see the smile on a client's face when they have achieved something new in their lives.

I really hope that the NDIS is a positive change in the lives of the people we care for in our work. The privatisation is a very scaring thought for some of us, but change can be good.

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Samantha Taylor

Executive Director NDIS Implementation

I started working in disability when it first split off from the Department of Community Services in 1995. In fact, I started a couple of months before the state election thinking I’d have this great career in DoCS only to find myself in a completely new department of Ageing and Disability Department or ADD.

I worked for about 5 years in the funding administration area, and did other interesting things like running the office of the Director General, and developing business plans and performance management systems.

I left in 2005 for a stint doing cross-agency work before the public sector clusters were formed (back when NSW had 140 public sector agencies) and returned in 2009 to head up the NGO sector space in what was by then DADHC (Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care). The last thing I’d done before I left in 2005 was to write the tender for the actuarial services we needed to make the case to government that investment in disability was desperately needed.

While I’d been away the government had decided to invest significantly in disability supports under the first iteration of Stronger Together. A really big part of that story was the early intervention approach, but also making sure we had a sector (both government and NGOs) with the right capacity to make the change to a person focussed, outcome based service system.

Sound familiar? It really was the first step towards the environment we are moving to under the NDIS.

Key to getting the sector ready for this change was the relationship that we have both with funded NGOs but also our own front line services. We had to turn the relationships into a partnerships - moving away from it just being about how much we funded NGOs, into one where we were working together for a common goal – the right of people with disability to live good lives in their local communities.

We needed the sector, including our own direct services, to take control of the reform agenda because they were closest to the people it was designed to benefit.

We put in place a ‘sector partnership framework’ and a ‘sector planning framework’ both of which were about keeping it local, open and honest, and moving the ‘power’ for the design of the service system from central office (who were the farthest away from day-to-day reality) to the community/ local level.

We put in place an Industry Development Fund and vested it in the sector itself, so they were taking control of how they developed based on what the people they supported wanted them to be. A lot of hard work went in to building trust with the sector and our local teams lived and breathed this new way of working.

As a result, the local disability landscape is so different to what it was 10 years ago it is almost unrecognisable. Investment in the NSW disability sector has been unparalleled across the country. It means we have a very collaborative way of working through the many issues and challenges as we ‘learn’ our way through the NDIS transition process.

Its been a long journey but hugely rewarding, and great ground work for the future.

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Angela Ridgway

Person Centred Active Support Coordinator

I am currently on secondment with Greystanes Disability Services, coordinating a Project to train and mentor support staff and managers of the LRCSSL Directorate in Person Centred Active Support.

My vision is for Person Centred Active Support to be fully embraced by the disability sector to the point where Active Support becomes the default for the support of people with disability. I believe it is the way forward as it is an evidence based approach that enables everyone, regardless of their level of ability, to make choices and participate in meaningful activities and social relationships. I hope that proper safeguards are in place to ensure that the abuse and neglect of people with disability is eliminated. I also hope that support workers are recognised for the important work they do and that the right people are attracted to work in the sector because they truly want to make a difference.

Although my background is in natural resource management, I moved in to the disability sector as a care manager assistant while on a working holiday in the UK in 2000. I have a niece with a learning disability and Asperger’s Syndrome so I have always had a keen interest in disability.

I began with ADHC in 2005 as a residential support worker in Metro South. After working in a few different roles I successfully applied for a Senior Policy Officer position with the Policy and Practice team in Central Office. I love this industry as it resonates strongly with my own values and beliefs about the dignity of others, connection, accountability, integrity and trust. I enjoy new challenges and experiences, learning and developing my strengths and ADHC has served me well in this regard.

I will treasure the many happy memories and the honest connections I have made with people I have supported, their families, and the many great staff and colleagues I have been blessed to work with. I am also grateful to have been mentored and supported by so many brave, insightful, compassionate and resilient women. I hope to continue to have a career as satisfying as the one I have had with ADHC.

Melinda Norton

Melinda Norton

Director Strategic Change

More years ago than I care to remember, not long out of university, I started my career in the disability sector. I have had the most amazing opportunities over the last 20 years and have seen such significant changes to the supports available to people with a disability.

In my early years I was a speech pathologist and then a Manager Access. During that time we started to focus on the importance of inclusion in our team in the Eastern Suburbs Developmental Disability Service (ESDDS). We changed the way we supported children at school to focus on the child and support them in their school - whether it was a special school or class, mainstream etc. Prior to that we had only focused on the children at the special school.

Another thing I remember was, I think, one of the forerunners of individual funding. One of the families we worked with had a need for some in home respite to support their son. He wasn’t able to access centre based respite. At that time we had access to some funding and we were able to provide it directly to the family so they could engage a suitable carer directly rather than though an NGO. They were able to choose the carer and negotiate a fee – by doing this they got access to a lot more respite for the same funding amount. It made a big difference to that family.

Fast forward the years and I found myself supporting the roll out of Stronger Together in the children’s policy area. Again, we worked to focus on the inclusion of children in the same places as their friends and peers – childcare etc. I am proud to say we focused on doing things differently – inclusion for children and a focus on outcomes. More recently I have had the opportunity to work with the great people in Strategic Change, ADHC to support the work around transition and transfer and also to support our staff as we move towards the end of NDIS transition and ADHC steps down.

The next decade or so, I think, will see the most significant changes in the way people with disability are supported, but also included, in their communities. As with all significant reforms there might be a few bumps along the way but lets not forget the end game. My work will take me elsewhere, but whatever my role, I will continue to work towards inclusion and its importance for all people in our community.

Sue Doyle

Sue Doyle

Manager Policy and Practice

In 2004, six years into the devolution of large residences program, three of us were employed to ‘devolve’ the large residential centres by 2008. This we now know has taken scores of people to accomplish – and it is still not finished! The best part of that experience was the chance to meet many people in the (then) Regions who still remain great colleagues and sources of priceless information that I have been able to apply to developing policies.

Having come from a job as a research scientist in a university I found the constant stream of meetings in government to be very boring – however, to my surprise in the devolution program, they had Project Control Group meetings and they were fantastic because people attended them who could make decisions, and decisions were made.

Since those days I have been involved in developing policies and resources to be used by workers in accommodation support services. This work allowed me to meet more great people working in the front line of support services, and without them I would never have been able to do my job.

For the past five years I have been managing a policy team and was very lucky to work with a talented and dedicated group of people. Between us we have provided a rich suite of resources for support workers to use. As well as a few brickbats, we have received some high praise for the quality of the resources and the value they bring. I feel rightly proud of the work we have done and honoured to have had the chance to work with and for you all.

Rosa Diaz

Rosa Diaz

Case Manager

During my time at ADHC I have had the privilege to provide case management support coordination to many special people. One of these special cases was a young refugee. The mother had two sets of twins, all with intellectual disabilities. She worked in domestic support to provide for her family and during this time she had the opportunity to observe the behaviour of what she called a ‘normal family’ i.e. a father who cares for all of his family, a mother who always protects her children. She promised herself that one day her family was going to be a ‘normal family’ but she knew it was going to be very hard.

Her mother-in-law who had arrived as a refugee before them sponsored the young family to come to Australia. Community Services immediately took care of the family and found them suitable accommodation. Unfortunately the family environment was not suitable to remain in and the young children were placed in temporary foster care whilst the mother was pregnant again. She has been listening to the counsellors, support workers and to all the other organisations including the case management support provided from ADHC, all of whom were supporting her and wanted to make a positive change for her family.

She gave birth to two more babies and restoration of her children was under way with ADHC providing early intervention support. The children needed a range of therapeutic services including speech pathology and occupational therapy which the case manager coordinated and ensured services were implemented.

This young woman with six children under the age of seven showed enormous resilience and did her very best when completing family chores, for instance, being on time for her medical appointments; the children to be clean and on time for school; the house to be clean; calling the interpreter service to talk to her case manager; using her body language for communication when needed; and always being thankful for the services she and her children were receiving. I admired this woman for her tenacity and for believing in herself and for her strength in changing her environment for the better of her family.

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Page last modified by KM on February 26, 2018 at 12:09 pm