Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Australia has 100 infants with special needs

Yesterday I finally spoke with Mr Peter McLean from the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA). Mr McLean is the Section Manager for Carer Payments, in the Disability and Carer Payments Policy Branch.

It was apparent very early in the conversation, that Mr McLean had no intention of acknowledging any flaws in the current system. The whole process was revised in recent years and should now be fine n' dandy, thank you very much.

Mr McLean then proceeded to tell me that every year there are 100 infants, under the age of 12 months who's parents qualify for Carer Payment. He said it with such exhuberance, he actually seemed proud of that statistic. When I told him that 100 cases, Australia wide didn't seem a lot, he said "well hopefully there aren't other babies that need it".

Excuse me Mr McLean? Do you seriously think that in a country with a population nearing 23,000,000, there are only 100 infants that have significant additional needs? On average, there are 250,000 babies born every year in Australia. That's pretty darn impressive if only 100 of those babies have special needs. Are you living in the merry old land of OZ Mr McLean?

I agree that the line needs to be drawn somewhere but it's pretty clear that currently the bar is set too high. At the moment, I can choose to work longer hours and pay my rent, or I can spend more time with my son and give him a chance of a 'normal' life. If Early Intervention is the key, why are parents made to wait so long for Government Assistance?

So many people have contacted me and told me of their struggles, I can't stop fighting now. This isn't about Max and I, this is about every family in the same predicament. I have forwarded him our petition and urged him to read the comments.

For the rest of this week, I will be focusing 100% of my energy on Max's birthday. Tomorrow he will be turning 1 and he deserves nothing less than my full attention.

But after that? Watch this space.

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1 comment:

  1. It is very interesting....I bet if you were indigenous or torres strait islander you are part of the 100 babies...This sucks and I to will be joining your fight...let me know what I can do...but in the mean time I will be doing aloot more research and having a convo with my doctor who will advocate on Max and every other under 1 year old and there parents who need assistance....Happy 1st birthday