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Funding for disabled young people not enough

Media release from IHC New Zealand 4 March 2008

Increased funding for disabled young people not enough

IHC says the funding announced by Government to enable disabled young people with very high needs to leave school from the age of 16 is a good start, but isn't enough.

Previously students with very high needs were not eligible for funding for support by adult vocational services until they were 21, effectively forcing them to stay at high school.

"Disabled students and parents along with IHC have been advocating for this change for some time and welcome the result." said Trish Grant, IHC Director of Advocacy.

"However this change does not address the fact that the funding for these young people, does not cover the full cost of support." she said.

"Most young people who are very high needs need one-to-one support and the existing funding is insufficient for a full week. If the service provider can't cover this shortfall the young person ends up spending more time at home than they did when attending school, placing the responsibility of care and support straight back onto their parents."

"It is ironic that a government with a commitment to productivity and a high skilled workforce is effectively curtailing the efforts of some young people to gain the skills and education required to be part of that workforce as well as forcing their parents out of the workforce to fill the gaps in available support."

IHC along with many other disability sector organisations have been lobbying the government for full-funding of vocational support services for some time, but an adequate response has not been forthcoming.

Vocational services do not fall within the definition of "essential social service" and so are not covered by the recently announced sustainable funding model for non-government organisations.

ENDS

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