Our year in review

A snapshot of how we partnered with people to change lives for the better in 2020

Welcome from Chief Executive, Claire Robbs

I am pleased to share a snapshot of the fantastic work happening at Life Without Barriers. I share these stories with considerable gratitude to all the staff, foster carers and volunteers across our organisation who have been relentless in their actions to contribute to keeping people safe.

It is through leaning on our values that we have been able to remain committed to supporting over 23,000 people to live the life they want to live this year. Thank you for your continued belief in our work to partner with people to change lives for the better. We truly value your support.

Claire Robbs, Chief Executive

Our year by the numbers

Financial year 19/20

Key milestones

July 2019

The Alliance20 provided key input into the NDIS annual pricing review leading to greater support for regional and remote services.

November 2019

Life Without Barriers provides support for staff and the people we support in bushfire affected communities. Support continues throughout the bushfire season.

December 2019

We continue to champion disability employment with the launch of our Employment Without Barriers campaign. We are also awarded Disability Confident Recruiter status.

February 2020

We march in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, reaffirming our commitment to our LGBTQIA+ staff, carers and clients.

March 2020

COVID-19 declared a global pandemic. As an essential service, Life Without Barriers adapts our services in line with Public Health Orders to continue to care for the people we support.

May 2020

Our commitment to reconciliation adapts to a COVID environment as we find ways to create cultural experiences without travel and we hold our first virtual Reconciliation Week.

Supporting people with disability

This year we partnered with 5,972 people with disability to help them achieve their goals. We support people in specialist disability accommodation, in their own home and in the community.

As COVID-19 impacted our services, we had to be imaginative, responsive and courageous to continue to provide support that met the needs of our clients. Here is a snapshot of how we have supported people this year to live the life they choose.

Supporting children, families and foster carers

This year, along with our committed foster and kinship carers, we supported 4,573 children and young people through our out-of-home care program. While a challenging year, we strengthened our support through:

  • Providing dedicated support to our foster carers throughout COVID-19 including contingency planning, virtual home visits and additional payments to carers.
  • Launching the next phase of our child safety strategy We Put Children First: Understanding Harmful Sexual Behaviours to help our staff and carers respond with care and non-judgement.
  • Chairing the Children in Care Collective, the interagency think tank that advocates to improve outcomes for children in out-of-home care.

Partnering with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

We believe that reconciliation must live in the hearts and minds of all Australians. Our Reconciliation Action Plan acts as our guide when supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, clients and their families, to ensure our actions are culturally appropriate and respectful of their deep connection to country. This year we:

  • Welcomed 138 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to our organisation.
  • Partnered with 84 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to ensure our work is culturally informed and respectful.
  • Supported 10 Return to Country and cultural experiences for children and young people in foster care and people with disability. Several planned cultural experiences had to be postponed due to COVID-19.
  • Participated in 53 NAIDOC community events and held our first virtual Reconciliation Week with online cultural events.
  • Delivered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture e-learning to 4,118 staff through our eLearning platform.
  • Supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses with a total spend of $337,000 in goods and services.
  • Assisted over 100 people in the Kalgoorlie, Broome and the Dampier Peninsula regions with gaining their provisional driver’s license through our Aboriginal Driver Training Program.

Our COVID-19 response

As an essential service, we continued to provide services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with two priorities at the centre of our work; continuity of care for the people we support and promoting and protecting the health and safety of our clients, staff, carers, children and families. We did this by:

  • Establishing the COVID-19 Response Call Centre to provide staff, clients and their families with access to support and information about services.
  • Continually adapting our services to reflect Government advice in consultation with the people we support and their families.
  • Delivering personal protective equipment packs and care packs containing activities for clients to all disability homes and residential homes in our foster care program.
  • Providing an additional two weeks paid leave to our direct care staff who were required to self-isolate.
  • Using technology to connect foster carers, case managers, families and children in care and delivering online tours, classes and games to people we support with disability.
  • Upskilling our direct care staff in correct use of PPE, advanced infection control and supporting people to stay safe and COVID free.