Noah's Ark Annual Report 2017

14 Nov 2017

Annual report 2017

About Noah’s Ark

Noah’s Ark is a not-for-profit community organisation based in Victoria and the ACT, Australia. We offer a range of services and programs that support families who have a child (aged 0 – 8) with a disability or additional needs.

At Noah’s Ark, we work closely with children with a disability, their families and the services they participate in. We recognise that parents are experts on their own child and we provide them with information and support that enables them to make informed decisions.

We employ more than 300 staff, delivering services to more than 2,200 families across Victoria and the ACT.

Noah’s Ark is also a leader in our field. We provide training for early childhood professionals, participate in sector events and lead policy and research nationally and internationally.

Noah’s Ark continually conducts annual research on service delivery and quality outcomes for families. The annual Family Outcomes Survey 2016 results indicate that 95.3% of parents were satisfied with their experience at Noah’s Ark.

From the President

Noah’s Ark has continued to develop as we transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The NDIS is continuing to open new opportunities for Noah’s Ark, but realising this is requiring significant investment. This year a major focus was on accreditation.

One of the most exciting developments is that under the NDIS we can continue to support children and families as they leave early childhood and go into school. As a result, we have expanded our focus to children from 0 – 8 years of age. We are also expanding our ACT service to include greater Canberra and those areas in NSW. The broadening of our age group and desire to work in NSW has required that we meet new standards including:

  • NSW Disability Service Standards
  • Quality Improvement Council (QIC) Health and Community Services Standards
  • Victorian Human Services Standards
  • Child Safe Standards

This has been a large-scale undertaking, but one that is improving the quality of the services we provide. At the core of quality accreditation is the notion of cycles of improvement. This mirrors the way our staff work with families and children. Undertaking the accreditation process and meeting this wide range of standards has meant: a thorough review of policies; audits; strengthening systems and building staff awareness.

The accreditation process provided very positive feedback about the quality and consistency of our services, staff and systems. It was noted that there is a high level of commitment by staff to client outcomes. It was particularly rewarding that Noah’s Ark exceeded the QIC standards in four areas:

  • Focusing on positive outcomes
  • Service coordination
  • Incorporation of and contribution to good practice
  • Community and professional capacity building

We are also proud that this year we completed our Reconciliation Action Plan.

The work of Noah’s Ark is made possible by the passionate commitment of people across all levels of the organisation, including staff and board members. I congratulate staff for their achievements throughout the year. I would also like to thank my fellow board members for their important contribution. In particular, I’d like to recognise John Dowling’s contribution to the board over the past 10 years at both board level and through his generous sharing of his professional skills.

Fintan Magee

CEO report

Like all organisations impacted by the introduction of the NDIS, we are experiencing unprecedented change for staff and the children and families we work with. I would like to congratulate both staff and families in how they are responding to the inevitable challenges this creates and their continued focus on the best outcomes for children.

This year Noah’s Ark developed its new strategic plan 2017– 2020. It covers the transition of all our early intervention services into the NDIS. As previously, the strategic plan was developed through broad consultation across the organisation, under the direction of the board.

Our purpose, which is to build better futures for children with disabilities and additional needs, and organisational compass, remains the same, reflecting our continuing desire to stay focused on supporting children and families. The plan also reflects the changing dynamics of the NDIS.

The new plan has five themes.

Our focus on engaging families and the community reflects a renewed emphasis on connecting with families in the areas in which we work and strengthening our presence in, and networks with, these communities. We are also building new relationships and partnerships in the context of the NDIS, for example through working with children entering school.

Noah’s Ark has always had a strong focus on building the capacity of those we work with. In the coming years we are keen to support families to manage, and get the best from, the new funding approach. We also remain passionate about the inclusion of children with a disability in the community and in building the capacity of early childhood services and schools to provide children with the best opportunities.

We recognise that having the best prepared staff is critical to quality of the services families receive and we continue to invest in developing our staff. Building systems and skills across the organisation to manage the transition from current services into the NDIS is requiring significant investment.

Developing our organisational sustainability remains a critical issue for the organisation. Over the next three years, the rest of our early intervention services will move from block funding to NDIS funding. This represents a major change to how we do business. It is a challenging context for all.

Our focus on leadership and undertaking advocacy reflects our ongoing concern that Australia continues the holistic, developmental approach to early intervention for young children that was supported by the Victorian Government and which represents best practice. We continue to raise these issues in available forums, including submissions to the Productivity Commission.

I’d like to thank the Board for their ongoing support. Our management team continues to work through how we introduce change in a positive way. Finally, I’d like to thank our Key Workers and other staff who make a real difference in the lives of children and their families.

John Forster

Download the full 2017 Annual Report (PDF 1.5MB)

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