ACWA Announces New Project Aimed at Delivering Stronger Outcomes for Vulnerable Children and Young People with Disability

ACWA is pleased to announce details of a key sector project we are undertaking, ‘Falling through the gaps? Delivering the best possible outcomes for vulnerable children and young people with disability’.

The core purpose of this collaborative initiative, which will commence in November, is to identify practical pathways, initiatives, tools, training and other resources that will enhance sector capability and practice in this important area.

Lyn Ainsworth, a long serving former senior executive with disability service provider Aruma (formerly House with No Steps), has been appointed to lead this project.

Outlined below are details of the project:


Objective 1
To undertake analysis in relation to children and young people in out of home care to assess:

  • The incidence of children and young people with a diagnosed disability within this cohort
  • The potential extent of undiagnosed or under-diagnosed disability within the cohort
  • The nature and scope of NDIS packages and plans currently in place, and the adequacy of those plans to meet individual needs
  • The potential opportunity for other children and young people to access supports through NDIS packages
  • Barriers and challenges to children and young people and their carers being able to effectively access the NDIS
  • Looking at those causative factors, consider potential opportunities for enhancing support for these young people.

Objective 2
Based on the analysis undertaken in connection with Objective 1, ACWA will work with key stakeholders on identifying and implementing enhancements to practice, to deliver improved outcomes for children and young people with disabilities in out of home care.

Given the high incidence of Aboriginal children and young people in out of home care, particular consideration will be given to this group as a subset of the cohort.

The review will cover the whole spectrum of out of home care arrangements across NSW including:

  • Foster care
  • Residential models: ITTC, ITC, THBC
  • Alternative Care Arrangements
  • Specialist Disability Services (although it is assumed that these young people will have good engagement with NDIS. May provide useful benchmarks)
  • Transitional models – TSIL, After Care.

It is anticipated that the insights from this work will support exploration of this issue in relation to vulnerable children with disability supported by member agencies in other contexts, through programs such as Intensive Family Preservation, MST-CAN and the Family Referral Service. In particular, we will work with member agencies and other stakeholders on delivering better outcomes for these children and young people with disability.

Time Frame:
The project will commence in early November, and is to be completed to draft report stage prior to June 30, 2022.

Stakeholder Engagement:
Under this project, ACWA will engage with a range of stakeholders, including out of home care and disability service providers, related government/ regulatory agencies, peaks, carers, and children and young people, to identify and implement key strategies that will lead to enhanced practice in this sphere.

Opportunities and next steps:
This piece of work may create cross-sector connections between disability and care agencies, and enable disability service providers to engage with the work of ACWA.

As noted above, it is likely to be foundational to exploring opportunities to support the work of member agencies with vulnerable children and young people in other settings.

Ongoing consultation with our member agencies and other stakeholders will be a critical component of this work at the commencement, during and at the conclusion of this project. ACWA looks forward to keeping agencies updated regarding ongoing developments.

For further enquiries regarding this project, please contact: