As a mum of three autistic kids, Elizabeth Anders had always found it difficult to find reliable support workers who understood the specific needs of her family.
Elizabeth and her three children, Oliver, 20, Ciaran, 18 and Niamh, 16, are all autistic and have ADHD. Having four NDIS plans to manage simultaneously, and coordinating support across the individual needs of her children, Elizabeth struggled for many years to find the perfect support worker solution.
“I’d had lots of trouble with agencies sending really inappropriate people, ”she says. “Some of the rules around what we could and couldn’t do was really ridiculous.”
But there was one support worker, Sebastian, who Elizabeth says was liked by everyone in the household. He had been working with the Anders family through a previous agency. So when he announced he was leaving the agency, Elizabeth wanted to ensure she didn’t lose him as their support worker altogether.
She didn’t however, want to employ Sebastian just through his ABN. “If I did that I knew that he won’t take holidays, he won’t put aside money for superannuation and he is much less likely to put money away for tax,” she says.
Elizabeth wanted to ensure he was taking care of his needs too.
“For me, working with Carer Solutions was a really good way for me to employ the person I wanted effectively as a full-time support worker for the whole family, whilst knowing he was protected at a whole range of other legal levels,” Elizabeth explains.
Having previously worked as a disability support worker herself, Elizabeth understood that agencies take so much money, paying lower pay rates to the support worker and often had rules that could be unrealistic and rigid.
She says that previous agencies she had used had told her that because there were four people with NDIS plans in her household, that she needed to hire four different support workers. “It was just horrible – this is our house, it’s not an institution,” she says.
After discovering Carer Solutions and their Direct Employ model at a local disability expo
four years ago, Elizabeth knew this was the solution she had been searching for. This would mean that she could keep Sebastian on and pay him a wage that they both agreed on.
Carer Solutions offer a unique Direct Employ service, assisting families to set themselves up as formal employers and their chosen supports as formal employees. The Carer Solutions team takes care of all the tricky stuff – guiding families like Elizabeth’s through the process, with all the information and tools they need to set up the support team of their choice.
This one-of-a-kind service not only enables Elizabeth to choose support workers that she already knows and trusts, but Carer Solutions take care of all the time-consuming stuff such as payroll and PAYG tax.
“We are just a family that needs support, and the Carer Solutions model has allowed our family to access the support we needed,” she says.
Elizabeth says that Sebastian feels more like a brother than a support worker and he not only helps with the kids, by taking them to school and their activities, but he helps Elizabeth out around the house.
“He doesn’t just sit around waiting to be told what to do,” Elizabeth explains, adding that previous agency support workers had not been responsive to the needs of the family.
Having the freedom to directly employ Sebastian enabled Elizabeth to take a holiday to Europe on her own earlier this year. Sebastian ensured the kids were well cared for at home, giving Elizabeth the peace of mind she needed.