Experience leads to improved services for people with disabilities

As a parent, grandparent and wife, I have supported my family through some challenging times.  Having a child with special needs, I have, in years gone by, struggled to find individualised, local supports and often felt quite isolated and frustrated by the lack of control I was experiencing.   

Later, I decided to turn those experiences into an opportunity. It provided me with a platform to launch a new career path supporting others going through similar hardship.

I have now worked in the social services industry for six years, including four years at CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning. I am proud to work for an organisation that is committed to providing a range of quality support services to people with disabilities. As a team, we support people in defining their goals, identifying their strengths and accessing resources by developing collaborative, open, honest and transparent relationships with the people we support.

Based in CatholicCare’s Taree office, I was thrilled when, on 1 July 2016, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was introduced to the Manning region. Since July 2013, the NDIS has been trialled at various sites across the country, with the Newcastle Local Government Area included in this trial phase. The expansion of the NDIS into areas including Taree and Gloucester six months ago means that the services offered by CatholicCare are now consistent across the diocese.

While working for CatholicCare I have had the pleasure of assisting many Manning locals by providing them with goal-oriented, individualised support plans. Although our previous programs have been successful, with some amazing outcomes achieved with and for the people we support, the government’s former funding guidelines limited what we could offer and to whom. Often, this would see a gap in necessary supports for people in the Manning. However, with the expansion of the NDIS, we have already seen wonderful benefits afforded a larger number of people who are now able to experience greater choice and control in terms of how the services they select are delivered. This not only has a tremendous impact on the individuals in the short and long term, but will also benefit their families, carers and the community in general.  

The aim of the NDIS aligns with CatholicCare’s core belief in early intervention − investing in people early to improve their outcomes later in life. For CatholicCare, success is building capacity and delivering on empowerment opportunities for the people we support. For people accessing our Disability Services programs, this may include greater independence, community involvement, employment and improved wellbeing.

It is a great privilege to play such a vital role in providing support and assistance to people with a disability, their carers and families. I know that trying to determine what support you may be eligible for, and how best to access it, can be confusing. However, it doesn’t have to be.  CatholicCare has always prided itself on its holistic approach and this will continue with the rollout of the NDIS.

For more information on how CatholicCare staff can assist you or your loved ones, please P 6539 5900 in the Manning or 4979 1120 in the Hunter.  

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Peta Cass Image
Peta Cass

Peta Cass is a PHaMS Caseworker for CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning.

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