The oldest service providers for children who are deaf or hearing impaired in the country and state of South Australia have announced a merge in order to continue delivering their highly valued services.
The Cora Barclay Centre, based in North Adelaide, South Australia will join forces with national children’s charity, Can:Do 4Kids following a vote by Board members on May 28.
Taking a proactive approach in ensuring their services are protected going forward, Cora Barclay has identified an unsustainable future under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Cora Barclay Centre General Manager, Amanda Haskard says the service provider is a big supporter of the NDIS and the impact it will have on the lives of people with disability, however, significant shortfalls in access to early intervention is currently impacting the futures of children who are deaf or hearing impaired.
Mrs Haskard flagged areas of concern with the NDIS, including a significant lack of funding, lengthy delays and incorrect pathways in families accessing support as well as the rise of unskilled professionals working in the area.
She says early intervention plays an important role in helping children who are deaf or have a hearing impairment in living a full and independent life, with these barriers impacting South Australian families in a negative way.
The merger of Cora Barclay and Can:Do 4Kids is expected to happen within the year.
“There will be teething issues, but we are confident it will be a smooth transition,” Mrs Haskard says.
In October 2017, the Board made a decision to begin reaching out to like-minded partners for a merger and after acknowledging 14 potential candidates, Cora Barkley settled on Can:Do 4 Kids.
But Mrs Haskard believes this announcement is only the beginning.
“We are going to see a lot of merges over the next few months and years as the NDIS is fully implemented,” she says.
“It will be a good scheme but it will take a bit longer to become fully functional ... in the meantime we will lose some providers.”
With well-documented NDIS funding and implementation issues running rife, Mrs Haskard is encouraging other service providers to think proactively to ensure ongoing and successful outcomes for their businesses and clients.
“I would urge disability providers to be proactive and look very critically at their futures,” she says.
Despite moving from an independent organisation, she says the merge will be a great outcome for Cora Barclay and allow them to enjoy a sustainable and prosperous future in helping roughly 300 South Australian children, alongside Can:Do 4 Kids.
“We are positive about the merge and excited to see great benefits for South Australian families,” Mrs Haskard says.