Noah's Ark Annual Report 2018

18 Nov 2018

Annual report 2018

President’s Report

Noah’s Ark has completed a strong year as it continues its transition from block funding into the National Disability Insurance Scheme. There is no question that the organisation is being challenged. The new system is demanding changes in the way in which staff provide services, if not the nature of the services themselves. Staff are to be congratulated for remaining focused on achieving the best outcomes for children and families. There is every indication that the quality of our services continues to improve.

The NDIS remains a work in progress. Having been introduced with perhaps unrealistically high expectations, it has led to great uncertainty for both families and services. It is not yet clear that the major disruption it is causing will result in sustainable, high quality services and outcomes for children and families in the future.

One of the consequences of this disruption has been that some longstanding Early Childhood Intervention services have decided to close or merge. During this year we welcomed the services of the Educational Program for Infants and Children (EPIC) after that organisation decided that it was too small to continue under the NDIS. Established in 1976, EPIC has been operating with a Key Worker model similar to Noah’s Ark. Located on the RMIT Bundoora Campus it has undertaken significant research with the University into early intervention in Victoria. We are excited that this important heritage has become part of the Noah’s Ark story and look forward to developing a long-term relationship with the RMIT School of Education.

The strength of Noah’s Ark services continues to be evident through the ongoing positive results of the various measure we use. These include a Families Outcome Survey, the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure and Family Exit Interviews. These measures not only provide valuable feedback, but contribute greatly to our continuing improvement. The strength of our services is also evident in the high percentage of families choosing to stay with the organisation during transition to the NDIS and the growing number of new families seeking service.

In addition, the organisation continues to undergo various forms of accreditation with positive outcomes. Our growing involvement with school aged children has meant additional requirements, as has our involvement across Victoria, ACT and NSW. This year we completed requirements for the Victorian Early Childhood Intervention Services Standards and the ACT National Disability Services Standards. Accreditation has required a significant investment from the organisation and has enhanced our professional reputation.

As well as acknowledging the commitment of staff across the organisation, I would like to thank my colleagues on the Noah’s Ark Board. They generously share their expertise at a critical time for the organisation. We are fortunate to have a combination of members who bring both family insights into the challenges of raising a child with a disability and diverse business and professional skills which assist the Board to navigate a complex environment.

Fintan Magee

CEO Report

It has been another exciting and rewarding year as staff support the development of young children with a disability and delays, as well as their families. First and foremost we should celebrate these achievements. Our work involves teams, including staff and families, and it can be very demanding. It also can offer up great rewards.

Noah’s Ark remains committed to best practice and continuous improvement. Our focus over the past year reflects a growing involvement with school-aged children. We have been exploring new competencies, new relationships in the community, particularly with schools, and developing new resources to better support primary aged children. A particular focus has been on Positive Behaviour Support and the development of a framework for continuing professional development in this area. More broadly, we remain focused on strengthening our understanding of and practice in evidence based approaches through the work of our Practice Leader.

The opportunity to work with school aged children is the result of the new NDIS. We have been negotiating families transitioning into the NDIS, our services entering the NDIS and our organisational systems continuing to change as requirements change. We have been excited by the new level of community engagement under the NDIS. The scheme has created significant anxiety for families, some children have left to start school without NDIS plans, families have received low levels of funding and families have had to wait for extended periods before they have a plan and service.

Noah’s Ark has continued to contribute to making the NDIS as good as possible through submissions to both the Productivity Commission and the Federal Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS. Our training team was commissioned by Early Childhood Intervention Australia to develop a five-module online training course on best practice in early childhood intervention for use nationally.

We will continue to put families at the centre of what we do. I thank the staff, Board, volunteers and families for their ongoing commitment to giving children the best opportunities in life.

John Forster

Download the full 2018 Annual Report (PDF 1.7MB)

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