Media Release by Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion

MyTime for NT families

Minster for Community Services Senator Nigel Scullion today launched the first of three peer support groups to be established in the Northern Territory for parents of young children with disability.

The $9 million nation-wide peer support program called MyTime will offer support to Territory families with children under school age with disability or a chronic medical condition.

‘Due to the intensity of their caring role, parents of young children with disability are often socially disconnected from family and friends and are at significant risk of isolation from the wider community,’ Senator Scullion said.

‘To help these parents, the Australian Government is funding the MyTime peer support program and parents are encouraged to use the new group in Darwin as a means of interacting with other families in similar circumstances.

‘Parents are able to socialise and share ideas with others who understand the rewards and challenges of the caring role, discover available community support services and research-based parenting information and develop relationships with others with similar circumstances.

‘We launched the program in April this year, and by 2010 we expect to have a national network of over 300 MyTime Groups assisting over 2,500 families,’ Senator Scullion said.

Playgroup Association of the NT is the MyTime Peer Support Group provider delivering this service in the Territory.

MyTime groups complement the Australian Government’s recently announced
$1.8 billion Disability Assistance Package which aims to give practical support older carers of people with disability and provide further assistance to families of children with disability.

A key element of the Disability Assistance Package will provide carers with an annual tax free payment of $1,000 for each child 16 years or younger with a disability. This will assist with purchasing equipment such as wheelchairs, communication aids, therapy and respite.