Your Stories is giving you the opportunity to reflect on and share your experiences about what it’s been like to work for the NSW Government 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.

Recently submitted stories - Page 2


Itaru Yamamoto

Senior Case Manager

20 years ago I left my home country of Japan and arrived in Australia with my suitcase, wife and children, I did not speak a word of English.

I started working for the department in the year 2000 as a Disability Support Worker in Accommodation and Respite (A&R). I progressed to House Manager and finally Network Manager. I really enjoyed managing the group homes as it was always challenging, fast paced and I loved the diversity supporting clients and staff offered. I am now working in Community Support Team (CST) as a Senior Case Manager.

My background in Japan was social work and when I came to Australia I studied and completed my master’s degree in Public Health (Health Care Management). Studying for my masters inspired my love and desire to work in this field.

I was shocked when I started working in the disability industry in Australia as it is vastly different to that in Japan. I believe the system here is better.

My dream was to work in a case management role and for the past 7 years I have been a Senior Case Manager for CST. I worked with clients along side a good team and we implemented lots of new approaches incorporating strong team work. My average case load in Japan was 80 clients. In my current role it is 15-18 clients. The approach is different here. ADHC makes it possible to provide intervention to cases in a more thorough, creative and innovative way as I had more time to achieve client goals.

Leaving the department concerns me and I worry about the future of our clients. I will not be leaving the disability industry. I will stay in a senior case manager role as this is what I want to continue doing. I hope the new system will work for the clients, I am sceptical but hopeful.

Of my 20 years living in Australia, 17 of those have been working at ADHC. This has been a big journey for me. Without ADHC my journey may not be complete.


Jim Longley

Deputy Secretary ADHC

I’ve had a long connection with disability. As a teenager, I played music in group homes with my father. So when I became the NSW Disability Minister in 1992, it seemed like a natural fit.

While I was Minister (1992 to 1995), two key pieces of disability legislation were passed– the Disability Services Act and the Community Services (Complaints, Appeals and Monitoring) Act. As well, the Commonwealth State Disability Agreement was very significant.

In 2011 I chaired the Ability Links Committee that oversaw its establishment. Before that role was finished, I was appointed to the role of what was then the Chief Executive of ADHC.

It’s been interesting and meaningful to have been the Minister who introduced the DSA to then lead the introduction of its successor legislation, the Disability Inclusion Act in 2014.

It has been a privilege to lead ADHC during a period of great innovation in our approach to supporting people with disability. We have embraced the concept that this is no longer about providing services but about inclusion for people with disability.

Ability Links is an example of this approach and has turned out to be extraordinarily successful and really important. The recent Urbis evaluation report identified it as having high economic and social benefits relative to program costs. I find myself talking about it all the time!

It demonstrates that innovation done well usually goes far beyond what you anticipated it would.

While what is happening in ADHC is the end of an era, it is also the beginning of a new era. Its ending is important because it shows that ADHC has had a life and made a significant contribution.

But it is not the ‘end’. ADHC is seeding some extraordinary things – the people who have worked here will take their expertise, experience, commitment to high standards, to people with disability and inclusion into whatever job they have in the future and the wider community. And the new NDIS era – with its amazing transformations to come with people with disability at the centre – has our ADHC people as a strong foundation.

Renee Murphy

Mel Wolfgramme

Manager, Strategic Change

My interest in the disability sector was sparked by my relationship with my Uncle who has a disability. We balanced each other well with humour, respect and support. So in 1994, I knocked on the door of an ADHC group home and asked “How do I get to work with you guys?” I knew I could make a difference and I wanted to offer a ‘you beaut’ service.

Back then they asked you to do 3 voluntary shifts to make sure you really wanted to work in the field.

After working as a casual disability worker, I worked in an adult respite unit in Ryde. Respite gives parents and the guys accessing the respite a break. We went to the beach, concerts, the movies, dinners in Chinatown and picnics. I used to love voting for activities at the breakfast table and then selling the idea to those who disagreed.

In 1997 I had my first management gig in that same unit. Two years later I had a team of about 30 and was managing a mixed Registered Nurse and Disability Support Worker large respite centre. In another two years I became a manager with around 60 staff overseeing 4 to 5 units.

The work was challenging as you had to balance the rights, needs and wants of the people you supported and sometimes families did not agree.

Glizet Dupont

Glizet Dupont

Project Officer

I have just embarked on the NDIS Workforce Mobility Pathway Prototype and it is very exciting!

It is always stressful having to go through the job application process, especially after working in your role for so long, however the Pathway inspires us with confidence for our employment opportunities post ADHC. My Career Placement Officer (CPO) listens to my feedback and always has a positive and proactive attitude towards helping me in my career. The workshops are all well presented; they really do improve your résumé, interview skills and confidence. After the assessment, I received informative feedback, which focused on my key strengths and areas to work on.

I am now in the process of being matched for jobs and I am every bit confident that I will be able to find a role I am happy with at the end of my time through the Pathway.

Daniel Horseman

Daniel Horseman


I've thoroughly enjoyed my time working in ADHC. I've particularly loved working with people from various professional backgrounds (for example Speechies, OT’s and Case Managers) as they are always a very supportive bunch of people to deal with! I've also enjoyed the opportunities I've had to get to know people with a disability and develop my knowledge on how they access services plus my knowledge and understanding as I have an intellectual disability myself. My work has also given me several opportunities to set up systems, processes and resource bases for different teams in my workplace; all experiences I thoroughly enjoy.

Renee Murphy

Renee Murphy

A/Regional Senior Occupational Therapist

I have worked at ADHC for almost 19 years as an OT. I love my job and could never imagine doing anything else. Having been here for so long, I am fortunate to have made many friends and work alongside fantastic people. The comradery and knowing you always have support from colleagues and managers makes it more enjoyable to come to work each day.

I consider myself privileged to have worked with many families, some for many years and be part of their journey. Being able to make a difference and make their lives a little bit easier is so rewarding. I am inspired by the resilience and strength of many clients and their families.

As a senior OT, I have loved supporting other OTs and watching new grads develop in skill and confidence.

My hope for families that I work with, is that the NDIS will help to meet needs that were not able to be met by current funding options, especially specialised equipment and modifications. I know how much of a difference such items can make and I have watched families struggle when they don’t have these things.

As some colleagues move on, I feel sad to see them go. I will miss working in a big office full of wonderful people who I learn from and laugh with everyday. I feel fortunate that some of us will choose to stay together through transfer.

Jayne Penfold

Jayne Penfold

Residential Unit Nurse Manager

After 19 incredible years at the Rydalmere Centre it was really sad saying goodbye to people after being a part of theirs and their family’s lives for so long. So I decided to apply for the RUNM roles at an Emu Plains group home. It has been a fantastic experience and I treasure every moment here.

Our residents continue to amaze me each day with their new skills like assisting with chores, cooking and gardening activities. We have had parties with family and neighbours invited including housewarmings, 1st anniversary party as well as having a Petting farm visit. The guys are busy exploring the attractions of the local area and the Blue Mountains.

Whilst I will always miss the people at Metro Residences, particularly the NSW Rivers Unit, I have found the time at Emu Plains a rich and fulfilling time as a RUNM.

Ricky Chan

Angela Goddard

Behaviour Support Specialist

In March next year (2017) I will have worked at ADHC for 20 years. In that time I have worked in many roles including case management, support worker, project work and behaviour support - both local and regional. I have seen many changes to the department in that time including several name changes (DOCS, DADHC, ADHC, Human Services, FACS), multiple personnel changes and even a few office relocations.

In all of those years, and in all of those roles, the thing that has been most outstanding to me is the amount of amazing expertise there has been in our department. There is so much support and knowledge to draw from coming from every business stream.

The richness of knowledge we have in Speech Pathology, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Psychology, Behaviour Support, and Case Management, is part of what defines who we are as an organisation and how we support the community and each other. I love that, on any given day, if you need advice from another discipline, you can simply walk across the aisle to a colleague; it’s such a valuable resource and one which allows a holistic approach to supporting our client population. In particular, this ease of access to each other often makes the difference for those truly complex individuals.

I have been lucky to have this type of working environment from the time I was a new graduate, until now. For many of us this collegiate and cross disciplinary way of working is what keeps us coming back each day in an often challenging, difficult and now, very uncertain environment. I fear we may be losing this in many ways with the upcoming changes to the disability sector. Whilst I embrace the individualised and portable nature of the NDIS and everything that comes with it, the infrastructure we have in the public sector is vital to ensure its success and longevity.

Ricky Chan

Danny Burgess

Manager Clinical Governance and Therapist’s Team

My journey in ADHC, and in many ways that of the Clinical Governance and Therapist (CGAT) team, was an evolutionary process that is best summarised by personal fulfilment opening up multiple opportunities and ultimately leading to quality outcomes for clients, staff and the disability sector alike.

It all started 15 years ago when I commenced as a casual RSW at the advice of a fellow Registered Nurse; as I was working in mental health. The more I did casual RSW work, the more I enjoyed it and really started to understand the actual meaning of community inclusiveness for people with a disability that live within the community – what a great job, being paid to assist people to improve their lives and be inclusive, how can you not love that?

This naturally evolved and I eventually had the opportunity to become a permanent RSW. The decision to switch permanent roles from RN to RSW was easy. However, whilst I had a lot to offer with my background, it also meant I wouldn't necessarily be using my clinical skills in their own right. Ultimately, my passion of the work and the people was the deciding factor to make the switch.

Over the years my increased knowledge of the sector and structure of ADHC allowed me to move up through many differing roles; I knew being in more senior positions meant I could positively impact more people’s lives. I kept my RN registration as its been an invaluable tool to navigating the systems external to ADHC.

Evolution culminated in the formation of the CGAP team in 2010 (renamed in 2014 as CGAT). CGAP allowed me to combine my operational understanding and clinical knowledge to improve service delivery for clients by providing ‘real-time’ solutions to healthcare needs. CGAP provided the perfect opportunity to work collaboratively with other clinicians and build a quality driven service with positive health outcomes for the individuals we serve. We do this by empowering staff, particularly DSWs, to tap into their skills base so they can understand internal policy requirements and then adapt that to client support and to enable discussions and negotiations with external healthcare providers.

The biggest kudos we have received has not necessarily come through an award, but by allowing our team to grow from one person to 15 people over the past six years. Its been an absolute privilege for myself and the CGAT team to be able to contribute to client’s and their families lives. The CGAT team brings more than just a high expectation of ADHC health care service standards, each team member gives something personal to job everyday.

Barbara Stannard

Barbara Stannard


I have been working as a physio in intellectual disabilities for over 40 years!!. I worked in a NGO for 20 years and with ADHC for 20 years both part time hours.

As a physio we like to keep clients "moving" in their physical environment. A recent event happened when I took a client, who is wheelchair bound, but used to walk with a "walker", to the Hornsby public Pool. With the help of a staff from an NGO, the client WAS ABLE TO WALK, with staff and buoyancy help and with the water at shoulder level. The wonderful happy expression on his face was remarkable and the freedom of movement he was able to achieve in the water was magnificent.

Achieving this ability can only be done with the help of other staff or volunteers who do not mind entering the water with our clients!!

Being able to move we take for granted, but wheelchair bound also people like to move out of their wheelchair.

I hope this story encourages able-bodied people to help those who are not as mobile as they are!

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Page last modified by on February 22, 2018 at 1:03 pm