Privatisation fears for group homes

The State Government last year began transferring group homes run by the Disability Services Commission (DSC) to private providers. A further 11 homes are slated for privatisation.

According to the association, facilities in Bedford, Morley, Mirrabooka, Palmyra, Karawara, Gosnells, Karrinyup, Bassendean, Innaloo, Noranda and Balga will soon be run by private providers.

CPSU/CSA branch acting secretary Rikki Hendon said people with a disability should be able to stay in their DSC group home and be looked after by their current social trainers, who help residents develop basic life skills in the public system, if they wanted to.

Disability Services Commission Director General Ron Chalmers said there were about 185 people at various stages of the transition process working with the commission�s Transition Team.

�We are seeing great results and families are enjoying having a level of choice that wasn�t previously available to them,� he said.

�The non-government sector is dynamic and is offering people contemporary options that are individualised, flexible and meet their needs.

�They can stay in the same house, with the same housemates if that�s their choice, and they can choose who their service provider will be or if they�re ready to explore something new and look at a more individualised option they can do that too.�

Ms Hendon said the concern was that private providers would only employ disability service workers who don’t help the residents develop new skills and will not be as qualified.

�We also know that these private organisations will remove domestic staff who carry out the cooking, washing and general cleaning duties that will be taken over by the disability service staff,� she said.

�The social trainers have formed long-lasting relationships with the residents in these group homes and do a great job, some dealing with some very complex needs that may not be addressed when the homes are privatised.�

In June 2014 a petition with 2775 signatures called for the State Government to stop privatisation plans affecting about 300 people with an intellectual disability.