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Government to leave vulnerable children without crucial funding

Article image for Government to leave vulnerable children without crucial funding

Seven-year-old Olivia and 13-year-old Jordan require 24-hour care.

The siblings can’t speak, are fed through tubes and are wheelchair bound.

Jordan and Olivia’s hard-working and loving parents, Rob Smith and Vanita Connery, now face an impossible decision.

They’ve been told the cost of their children’s “voluntary out of home care” isn’t covered by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

NSW Department of Family and Community Services allegedly said they would cover the funding gap but this hasn’t occurred.

Rob and Vanita have been told if they want funding to continue, they have to relinquish control of their children and make them wards of the state.

1,700 families are facing the same unimaginable reality.

Rob tells Ben Fordham he could never give his children up.

“It’s very distressing for parents going through the situation and I don’t wish it on anybody.

“To relinquish care and responsibility¬†for them, making them wards of the state…it’s just not going to happen.

“Jordan is almost 14, he has a terminal disease and he has a few years left and we want him to have the best care and support possible during this time.”

Rob says he knows of families who have already had to give up their children.

“Unfortunately, some other families have had to relinquish their kids already. I can just imagine what a harrowing decision that would be.

“That must have just been such a dreadful thing to do and we’re not going to do that, ever.”

Click PLAY below to hear from Rob

A family friend of Rob and Vanita’s, Maria, tells Ben more.

“What this family has been put through is tantamount¬†to being put through a human mincer.

“It is appalling. It is absolutely immoral.”

Click PLAY below to hear from Maria

Assistant Minister for Disability Services, Jane Prentice, has responded.

“It was agreed… that the NDIS is not responsible for funding out of home care placements for children.

“In this instance, the NSW government retains responsibility for out of home care arrangments for children including funding requirements.”

Click PLAY below for the full statement

Ben Fordham