Mother must 'change the system' to get care for disabled chld

A BALLARAT mother has been told it will be up to her to “change the system” with her daughter’s full-time out-of-home care house set to be shut next year. 

Michelle Kidd has been battling for months to keep the house for 10-year-old daughter Erin open, however, despite many meetings with the Department of Human Services and various letters from the Minister for Disability Services and Reform, Mary Wooldridge, she is no closer to getting any information on where her daughter might end up.

“As far as I know it hasn’t changed much,” she said. 

“We are no further forward but I kind of knew it would be difficult.

“I was told it would be up to me personally to change the system.”

Victorian Commissioner for Children and Young People Bernie Geary has previously labelled the plight of Ms Kidd as exposing a gap in the system surrounding caring for children with disabilities.

Erin was born with cerebral atrophy, meaning her brain is as developed as that of a nine-month-old child.

She requires help with everything she does.

Ms Kidd admits the care required for her daughter, who also suffers from other medical problems, pushed her family to the edge before being placed in the home.

Erin is unable to communicate, she spends nights unable to sleep and suffers up to 50 fits a day. 

In August 2013, Ms Kidd was forced to seek assistance from the Department of Human Services, which placed Erin with three other children who were monitored and cared for for 24 hours a day.

Ms Kidd said she believed the main reason for the children initially being in the house was that DHS did not provide enough help to the families before the placement.

Ms Kidd said despite being given no assurances she would continue to fight for awareness of the gap in disability care. 

The home is due to be shut down in March.

matthew.dixon@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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