The Parents with a Disability Community Project is an initiative of Yooralla's Community Learning and Living Service. It was developed in 1996 in response to the idea of a parent with a disability who was concerned about the lack of supports for parents with disabilities in the community. In the initial stage a Public Forum was held and interviews undertaken with parents with disabilities to identify their needs and the gaps in services. The findings showed that parents with a disability did not have equal access to community support services as other parents. They often felt discriminated against in the provision of services and by the attitudes of society that often looked upon them as not capable of parenting successfully.
A Project Steering Committee was formed to oversee and provide directions to the Project. It consists of parents with disabilities, community providers and interested others and meets on a monthly basis. The Steering Committee brings together its expertise from personal and professional experience in disability, parenting skills and supports, health issues, advocacy and policy development.
The Community Project has adopted a philosophy that:
- All people with a disability should have the equal opportunity to choose to become parents and be able to obtain the information, support and resources required to be successful parents.
- The general community needs to value parents with a disability, acknowledge the barriers they face and provide the supports and services required to meet their specific parenting needs.
Some outcomes of the Community Project are:
- raising the profile of parents with disabilities in our community
- the development of a Resource Manual on Parenting with a Disability.
- workshops for service providers to assist them to better understand the needs of parents with a disability and to provide appropriate services
- the development of this website
- a parenting program for parents with disabilities held in the Western Metropolitan region
- a support group for parents with disabilities in the Eastern Metropolitan Region
- a training project working together with the Department of Human Services that meets the needs of parents with a disability