Privatisation upheaval fears

Lyn Young with brother Don Lessels. Picture: Marcus Whisson         d436004
Lyn Young with brother Don Lessels. Picture: Marcus Whisson        d436004

The State Government last year started transferring Disability Services Commission (DSC) group homes to private providers, with a further 11 homes set for privatisation.

Ms Young said the change could be detrimental to people with disabilities who rely on consistency and routine, especially those cared for by the State Government most of their lives or who have behavioural issues.

The Dianella resident�s comments followed Fears privatisation of disability homes may hurt residents published in the Stirling Times on March 31.

Ms Young is the guardian of 65-year-old brother Don Lessels, who has an intellectual disability and epilepsy.

Mr Lessels has been in government care for about 54 years and has lived at the Clarke Way group home in Bassendean with four other men for three years.

Clarke Way is one of the 11 homes to soon be controlled by a not-for-profit organisation.

According to the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU/CSA), the other facilities due for privatisation are in Bedford, Morley, Mirrabooka, Palmyra, Karawara, Gosnells, Karrinyup, Innaloo, Noranda and Balga.

Ms Young said family of Clarke Way residents were being assisted by a DSC transition team to decide whether they want their loved ones to stay together or if any would prefer to move to individualised accommodation.

�The options to go to a not-for-profit accommodation service have always been there; the difference now is that it�s compulsory,� she said.

�Having accommodation services provided by the non-government organisations, as good as what they are, they�re still very subject to funding.

�I�m very concerned about the quality of service because the social workers who work in DSC are trained social trainers, specifically qualified.

�There�s a big difference between a carer and a social trainer. It�s modelled on a parent sort of role teaching residents behavioural skills and life skills and they�re trained in how to deal with difficult behaviour.�

Ms Young said Don�s home was beautiful and that the social trainers and residents were like family.

�Some DSC group-home residents have been looked after by the government basically all their lives; at this age to have an upheaval seems wrong.�