In 2016 we partnered with Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability (VALID). Under this partnership we established a Peer Action Group for Parents with Disability.
This group of parents, with intellectual disability, have been meeting for over 12 months and have engaged in a broad range of activities, including:
- Hosting guest speakers, such as Barbara Carter from the Office of the Public Advocate.
- Participating in research projects with two researchers from NSW and QLD.
- Hosting a visit by members of Family Inclusion Strategies Hunter (FISH).
- Contributing to submissions to government inquiries and a Legal Aid Services review.
- Running a workshop at the Having A Say Conference.
One group member faced having her newborn removed from her care whilst she and her partner were placed on a waiting list for a residential parenting assessment. Advocacy and referral to appropriate legal support ensured the parents were not put on a waiting list and went directly from hospital to the assessment centre. The child remains in their care and has just turned 12 months old.
VALID and FIN Victoria have recently secured funding for an advocacy project for parents with disability. The Steps to Speaking Up project will see more Peer Action Groups established along with a training package for parents and professionals.