Early intervention consortia: a collaborative community perspective
Mozolic-Staunton, B 2016, 'Early intervention consortia: a collaborative community perspective', Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, vol. 58, suppl. 1, pp. 21.
Introduction: The department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) has committed $190 million for 4 years up to June 2012 to deliver the Helping Children with Autism package. In 2010, early intervention therapists from the Gold Coast formed a consortium panel with the community non-profit group, Autism Gold Coast to coordinate multidisciplinary service delivery under the new FaHCSIA guidelines. The federal government has indicated that this funding model may be extended to children under the age of six diagnosed with hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and Fragile-X. Objective: To explore the implications of the consortium model and its impact on the delivery and outcomes of early intervention services on the Gold Coast. Approach: Consultation with key stakeholders in the com- munity was undertaken in order to understand the impact of this policy change on local practice. Caregivers of children with autism, occupational, speech, and behavioural therapists, as well as leaders of community groups and FaHCSIA officials were asked to describe their experience working under this new model. Implications for Practice: This presentation will inform early intervention service providers and policy makers about some of the benefits of a collaborative team approach and challenges such as reducing waiting lists for servic es when working in a consortium. Conclusion: Increased government funding for early intervention programs is great news for children and families. This project highlights issues facing local families and early interventionists in their efforts to effectively utilize this important funding to achieve optimal outcomes for children being served.