BUSHkids Annual Report 2019-20

ANNUAL REPORT 2019–2020 TOPIC SECTION 35 ECEI OVERVIEW NDIS EARLY CHILDHOOD EARLY INTERV N The appearance of COVID-19 and its restrictions on physical distancing and face-to-face (F2F) contact certainly did not stop our ECEI teams from maintaining contact with families, continuing to work with them to access the NDIS and planning for children eligible for funding. Families indicated they were happy to have their service continue and were also happy to do this over the phone – at times video-conferencing via ZOOM. This reduced the number of groups being held, but the number of appointments to gather information for planning continued, at times increasing as we rang families to check in and monitor how they were coping with isolation. Each ECEI team participated in Virtual Storytime, with the Rockhampton team videoing sessions for the playgroups they facilitate so that their playgroup connections could post videos online for families to watch. Whilst we were already moving to a teleHealth model COVID-19 made this a necessity for us. Allied Health commenced delivering services via the teleHealth kits, which helped support families during uncertain times. This also helped families see the benefit of teleHealth, prompting some to consider using it for services in the community, rather than be placed on a waitlist for services in their local area. TeleHealth has also opened options for families to use different services, after seeing us use technology for our appointments, observations and for short-term therapy. In July, the teams began a graduated return to Centres after a successful WFH period. The administration team and team leaders had done a great job making sure that the offices were set up as per COVID-19 guidelines for the staff return. Interactions with families continued over the phone or via teleHealth, with optional F2F appointments for vulnerable families – and for some community meetings. We have made many contributions to the workings and processes of the NDIS, contributing to trials, projects and partner feedback. We hosted the Assistant Director and a Practice Manager from the NDIA Early Childhood Services team in all our service area offices during the year. The visits were an important collaboration between BUSHkids and the Agency. We attended the National Partners Forum in Geelong, and then the virtual state partner forum where we presented on the benefits of utilising student casuals in our work. We then also facilitated a session in the Early Childhood Early Intervention partner forum that was held virtually. Utilisation of the student casual pool of EIFs continues to be effective in the delivery of group programs for initial supports and community capacity- building, facilitating playgroups and assisting with plan-writing and reviews at peak times. From this initiative we have hired two students who are currently working in a facilitator role but who will be moving to new graduate Allied Health positions in the teams. We introduce Brooke and Danielle on a following page, updating the Futures piece on pages 30–31 of last year’s BUSHkids Annual Report. NDIS At the pandemic’s onset, our Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) teams adjusted from office-based consultations and in-home assessments to conducting all meetings with families over the phone from the office. Then, guided by BUSHkids’ leadership team, ECEI staff migrated to working from home. Although this initially came with some challenges, the majority took comfort in the knowledge of being able to continue their vital work from the safe environment of their own homes. EML ROK GLT BDB HVB GYM KRY MCY Service Agreement / Local Government Areas Rockhampton : Rockhampton, Livingstone, Central Highlands, Banana Shire and Gladstone ROK, EML, GLT Bundaberg : Bundaberg BDB Maryborough : Fraser Coast, North Burnett, South Burnett and Cherbourg HVB KRY Maroochydore : Sunshine Coast, Noosa and Gympie MCY GYM

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