Funded Family Care is a Ministry of Health-funded support option that was introduced in October 2013 to enable some disabled people with high or very high needs to pay a family member, who would otherwise be excluded, to provide personal care and household management supports.
A year after the policy came into place the Ministry of Health commissioned an independent evaluation of the implementation of Funded Family Care, to see what was working well and what could be improved.
The evaluators sought the views of 45 disabled people and/or their family and whānau carers, along with Needs Assessment and Service Coordination agencies, and organisations that represent disabled people and family and whānau carers.
The Ministry then interviewed an additional 100 families who chose not to take up Family Funded Care to identify the reasons, and it was found that many were happy with their existing support arrangements.
The evaluation showed that nearly nine in every ten Funded Family Care families interviewed said that the policy had impacted positively on them.
Almost two-thirds of families said Family Funded Care had put their household on a better financial footing and nearly one-half mentioned improvements to the health of the disabled person or family carer.
The formal recognition of family carers as members of the paid workforce added to their sense of well-being.
The evaluation found that almost all Family Funded Care families would recommend the policy to other people in similar circumstances.
The report did identify some areas for improvement, and, as a result, the Ministry will make changes to the following areas.
- The Ministry will clarify the role of the advocate and introduce supported decision making for the disabled person.
- The Ministry will continue to raise awareness with disabled people and their carers that Funded Family Care may be an option to consider for those eligible.
- The Ministry is also looking at ways to make the application process easier as some people found the process difficult.
- The evaluation identified confusion around informed consent and supported decision making. The Ministry will make this process easier and clearer.
- The report indicated that some families wanted a decrease in follow-up monitoring. Therefore, there will be a decrease from monthly visits for the first six months of the arrangement, to one visit in the first month, and annual reassessments thereafter.
- The evaluation showed that four in every five said that Funded Family Care payments were going well and had no particular issues. However, the Ministry is looking at its processes to address some issues including the use of unused funds and payment of Kiwisaver.