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What we know about changes to DHHS group homes in the transition to NDIS, and how we can help

VALID has received funding from the Victorian state government to provide information, advocacy and support to residents of government-managed group homes and their families, during the transfer of government disability services to non-government providers, as part of the NDIS.

By the end of May this year, VALID will deliver 180 information sessions to 2,500 residents of group homes across Victoria.

We are running a phone hotline for residents and families to answer questions you have about the changes. You can call us on 1800 655 570 Monday-Friday 9am-5pm.

We will be facilitating consultations between DHHS and residents and families to make sure you are involved in making decisions about the transfers.

Our advocates will also continue to attend NDIS planning meetings to support residents who do not have family or other advocacy support.

Q&A’s from the DHHS family information sessions

Recently VALID staff sat in on DHHS family information sessions and recorded questions asked by families about the transfer of services. Here is a sample of common questions, with answers from DHHS.

Will new providers be able to make changes to a resident’s other services (e.g. day program)?

No. Only the resident, or their family or legal guardian can authorise a change to an individual’s services both now and under the NDIS.

What guarantee is there that the government will not sell the houses to private investors or providers in the future?

There are no plans to change the ownership of the houses. They’re mostly owned by DHHS but some are owned by other groups, like housing associations. The current owners will continue to own and look after the properties.

What happens to residents who are over 65-years-old and won’t qualify for the NDIS?

People who are already over 65-years-old will be able to stay in their current group home. They will continue to get support from the existing support staff.

This is covered by the Australian Government’s Continuity of Support program.

Will new providers be able to recruit staff less qualified than DHHS do now?

The Disability Services Enterprise Agreement is an agreement between DHHS and the Health and Community Services Union that sets out minimum employment conditions.

The new Disability Services Enterprise Agreement maintains current terms and conditions for the workforce including qualification requirements for each type of position, and providing unqualified employees with the opportunity to obtain qualifications.

Is it a requirement in the tender process for a provider to be a non-profit organisation?

No, it is not a requirement. All applicants will be assessed by the government based on their ability to provide a high-quality service for residents. The government has developed strict criteria that all applicants will need to address which were informed by consultations with families and residents.

For more information, or to get advocacy support you can email Sarah Forbes, or call our hotline on 1800 655 570 between 9am-5pm from Monday-Friday.

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Two friendly looking presenters standing near an information board which had info about the NDIS and group homes on it.
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