Govt funding levels not enough for disabled teens
6 November 2013
Govt funding levels not enough for New Zealand’s at risk disabled teens
Emerge Supported Employment Trust will launch a report at this months’ CATE annual conference in Queenstown, detailing the lack of funding available for transition services for teenagers with disabilities in New Zealand.
Transition services help young teenagers with disabilities make the move from school to work but current funding is only available to high and very high needs students and only for a 12-month period, which is not enough according to the research.
The report, written by Emerge Transition Consultant Alex Sligo-Green for Victoria University, includes detailed viewpoints from many students with disabilities, their families, service providers and employers involved in transition programmes.
“It confirms what we already knew. Transition services are highly valued by all and yet they continue to be underfunded,” says Linda Fisher, Manager of Emerge Supported Employment Trust.
Transition services help teenagers with disabilities with their career choices, skills development, an understanding of working environments, and an opportunity to set learning and personal development goals.
“Without a transition programme in place, young people with disabilities can quickly become disengaged, face a life of unemployment, isolation, poverty and dependence on their parents,” says Linda Fisher.
The report strongly recommends that the government provide more funding so that more students can access transition services and so that the length of the transition services can be increased.