22 Dec 2018

Govt urged to fix Funded Family Care system

10:24 am on 22 December 2018

A network supporting people caring for severely disabled family members is welcoming an out-of-court settlement for a small group of families.

Woman in wheelchair next to an office desk, hand close up, unrecognizable person

Photo: 123rf

But it says the government needs to act urgently to fix the Funded Family Care system.

The government's Funded Family Care policy was introduced in 2013 after successful court cases taken by those who care for disabled family members.

It has been a costly exercise, with the series of cases costing the Crown at least $2.6 million. The Crown has lost all three cases.

The King case covers 13 people from eight families who cared for their disabled child or spouse for a decade - without being paid - between 2002 and 2012.

Their case has been settled before its hearing, which had been set for the High Court next year.

The coordinator of the Complex Care Group, Jan Moss, said while she's thrilled for those families, hundreds of others are sick of waiting.

"People are just really getting fed up with the stalling, I mean I think everyone's just hanging in their to see some real action around getting what seems to be a relatively simple situation sorted."

Ms Moss said three reports since 2012 have found the system unfair and discriminatory.

Disability advocate Jane Carrigan, who was involved in one of the cases that did go to court, said while the settlement was good news for the handful of families involved, there were still hundreds receiving nothing.

"Unfortunately it continues to leave approximately 1600 other families out there who also care for high and very high needs adult children in the home, to continue to be on the receiving end of unlawful conduct from the Ministry of Health in the application of the Funded Family Care policy."

Ms McDonald said the current system did not acknowledge the burden that unpaid work placed on a family.

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