Changes to the Funded Family Care Operational Policy
We commissioned an independent evaluation of the implementation of Funded Family Care.
As a result of this evaluation, we are making improvements to the ease of access and application of the operational policy, with a focus on clarifying and improving the current policy, information and communication.
Making more eligible people aware of Funded Family Care
We want to make sure that Funded Family Care is one of the support options offered to disabled people. We also want to make sure that disabled people understand how Funded Family Care works for them.
During the needs assessment process, the NASC should consider whether a person and their family/whānau are considered eligible, and give them information if that’s appropriate.
The Funded Family Care Operational Policy document has more information about eligibility.
The associated Funded Family Care Notice 2013 sets out the funding arrangements of the Government’s family care policy. This Notice appeared in the New Zealand Gazette, 26 September 2013, No 131, pages 3670–77.
Family/whānau members play an important role in taking care of each other. The Government’s policy is that families have primary responsibility for their members’ wellbeing, including disabled people. Historically, family members have not been paid for this.
However, there are certain circumstances where some family members can be paid to provide support to adult disabled family members who have high and very high needs for care. As part of the needs assessment process, a NASC should look at the personal care and household management needs that are over and above what would naturally be provided. They should use this as a part of assessing eligibility for Funded Family Care.
Reducing the number of NASC visits
Previously, a NASC would visit every month for the first six months of an arrangement. Now, a NASC will visit only once in the first month after the arrangement starts, so that they can check that the arrangement is working well for the disabled person and their family. There will still be an annual review of a disabled person’s support plan, including the Funded Family Care arrangement.
Making informed consent easier, including the use of supported decision making
The policy now has more of a focus on supported decision making principles. A NASC must now make sure that someone is able to make an informed decision for themselves about whether they want to take up Funded Family Care. This is to support a disabled person in exercising their own preferences and wishes. Although an independent advocate can help, it isn’t compulsory to have one.
Clarifying what to do with unused funds
The policy now includes a process on what to do with unused funds. Unused funds can accumulate in the disabled person’s account for a variety of reasons: for example, if the family or whānau member who’s caring for them opts out of Kiwisaver, the disabled person decides to stop Funded Family Care, or their care is provided as voluntary care. The disabled person (and/or their nominated representative) should contact their NASC if they have unused funds they wish to repay. The NASC should give them a form to complete that has details on how the funds can be repaid.
Help with bank accounts
Some people have found it difficult to open a bank account for Funded Family Care payments. If this happens, a disabled person can contact their bank’s complaint line. The bank can help find a solution.