The Australian Education Union is urging schools to offer more services for students with disabilities in their classrooms.
Key points:The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was introduced in February to help students with learning disabilities find work and help pay for their housing and supportThe NT has more than 2,000 disabled students, many of whom live in foster careCommunity colleges and universities in the NT have been hit by the loss of NT$1 billion worth of NDIS grants since the scheme was introducedIn the past few years, the NT has been hit hard by the collapse of the NDIS.
In October last year, NT students, including students with disability, took to the streets of the NT capital Canberra in protest against the NDISA funding cuts.
They said they wanted to see a return to the NT’s NDIS model.
The NT Government has not announced any plans to replace the NDis funding, and students with a mental illness and disability are often the first to be placed in foster homes.
It is a concern for students like Tariq, who needs specialised care.
Tariq is an autistic student with cerebral palsy who lives with his mother in the north-east of the country.
He has a limited range of movement and he has a high level of anxiety.
Tirq said he was put into foster care in March 2016, after the NT Government decided to close down the NT Disability Insurance scheme and give it back to the state.
Trees and fences have been planted to keep him safe in his new home in the far north-west of the Territory.
Tarek, who asked to be identified only as T, said the NDISE was an excellent investment, but it has not kept him safe.
He said he is anxious about his life as he has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
He is often put into a care home because his behaviour is so unpredictable.
Trouble began in March when he was placed into a foster home, and then later into a transitional home.
He told ABC Radio NT the transition home in New Zealand was better, but the NT was worse.
He did not like living in a home where he was not supervised, which meant he was spending time with his sister and two other people.
Terrifying situationThe NT’s Minister for Education, Chris Mitchell, has said he did not know of any cases of students with mental illness or disability being put into homes.
But NT students with severe mental health problems often end up in foster or transitional homes.
He acknowledged the NT had a problem, but said there was a way to solve it.
He also acknowledged that students with intellectual disabilities or other learning disabilities had been put into care homes.
“The NDIS is not the only funding model that exists in the world,” he said.
“There are other models of funding that are very effective, and those models can provide a much more comprehensive range of services than the NDIs do.”
I do not want to see more students with serious disabilities in foster, transitional or residential care.
“Tarique, who has been living in his mother’s home in Sydney for the past five years, said he had not seen anyone with a serious mental health issue at the school.”
We are trying to do everything we can to ensure we are getting the support we need, but we need a lot more money for this,” he told ABC NT.”
It’s not easy to live with a child who needs this kind of support.
I am worried that some of these people are going to stay in foster.
“He has been receiving specialist mental health support since he was first placed in the care home.
Taria, who also asked to remain anonymous, said she was worried about the NDISS funding.”
They are saying the NDID is a good investment, that we are making a positive contribution to society, but they are also saying they will pay for all the services we need,” she said.
Tarisq said while the NT government did not have a good record on providing support to students with an intellectual disability, the money it was putting into the NDIDS had been a positive step forward.
He hoped the NT Education Minister would reconsider and make the ND IS funding a permanent part of the funding system.”
He could do it on the basis that the NDI is not working and is just going to continue to fall through the cracks,” he added.
The ABC has contacted the NT Department of Education for a response.