Leading Edge Resources: Individual and Family Support
In Western Australia, the Accommodation Support program allocates funds directly to people with disabilities to live independently in the community. Similarly, the Community Support Program allocates funds directly to the persons with disabilities to remain with their families and provides families with a break from caring.
In these jurisdictions there are issues still to address in terms of access, levels of funding, administrative complexity, competing models of disability, support to individuals and families to manage their funding, and so on. And, the positive benefits of direct payments is consistent.
Technology in Support of Individual Funding. Thomas Friedman in his book The World is Flat identifies all sorts of ways that individuals and corporations have outsourced work that is important to them. Much of this is possible because of the computerization of many tasks and the ability to communicate through high speed connections. There is merit in exploring such approaches in support of individual funding:
- outsourcing the paper work of case management – if accountants can outsource routine tax returns to a service in Asia so that they can spend more time in conversation with their clients, why not case managers?
- a top notch, consumer friendly source of advice and information about all sorts of programs and services – if companies can outsource their "help desks" all over the world for more effective and efficient services, why not develop a responsive "help desk" that can respond to inquiries from individuals and families by phone and over the web.
- consumer cooperatives to manage funds – if agencies can pool their bookkeeping services for greater efficiencies and still get quality reports, why cannot the receivers of direct funding do the same?