In-home NDIS services and LGBTQ+ families
If your child is in the NDIS, they might be getting some of their NDIS services and supports in your home. For example, NDIS providers or support workers might come to your home to do physiotherapy or occupational therapy, or help your child with eating or bathing.
When NDIS providers come to your home, it gives your child the chance to learn in a familiar environment. It can also be a good way for you to get some of the support you need to raise your child.
All children who use the NDIS and their families have the right to good-quality, safe and respectful services and supports wherever they are, including in their own home. This is regardless of your gender identity or sexuality.
My home is the place I don’t have to be an educator or activist. I can just be me.
– Jax Jacki Brown OAM, disability and queer rights activist and parent
Choosing in-home NDIS providers for your LGBTQ+ family
When you’re choosing NDIS providers for your child, it’s always important to think about which providers will best help your child work towards their NDIS goals. But your home is a private, personal space, so there might be extra things for you to consider when your child gets support at home.
For example, you might not be fully out, or you might be out only with close friends and your chosen family. Or you might have an active or public role in your LGBTQ+ community, but you don’t want to do your public role at home.
For these and other reasons, you might feel more comfortable having someone in your home who identifies as LGBTQ+ themselves or who actively supports and affirms LGBTQ+ people. On the other hand, you might worry that working with someone from your LGBTQ+ community might feel too ‘close to home’ or might change your relationship with them.
If you make these issues and feelings part of your decision-making, it can help you find providers and workers who are right for your whole family.
How to find in-home NDIS providers for your LGBTQ+ family
If working with LGBTQ+ or LGBTQ+ friendly NDIS providers and support workers is important to you, here are ways you could find these people:
- Ask for recommendations from people you know and trust. For example, you could ask friends, family and other parents.
- Talk to your child’s early childhood partner, local area coordinator or NDIA planner. They might be able to help you gather information about different providers.
- Advertise on university employment sites. For example, you could look at universities or TAFEs that offer courses in disability support or other allied health areas. Consider using language like ‘LGBTQ+ friendly’ or ‘LGBTQ+ allies’ in your advertisement.
- Advertise locally. For example, you could put advertisements in LGBTQ+ friendly cafes or bookshops.
- Post or check previous posts on LGBTQ+ friendly Facebook groups or online forums. Remember to check your privacy settings so people can’t see personal information about you or your child.
- Look for signs that a service provider is safe and respectful for LGBTQ+ families. For example, service providers might display the Rainbow Tick accreditation or show families that look like yours in their posters or brochures.
If you’re self-managing your child’s NDIS plan, you can employ support workers directly. This means you have greater choice over who comes into your home. It can make it easier to find the right person for your family.
When NDIS providers come to your LGBTQ+ home
A key issue for many LGBTQ+ families in the NDIS is sharing family information with NDIS providers and support workers. What and how much you share about your LGBTQ+ family is up to you.
You could start by thinking about what NDIS providers and workers need to know to respect your child and family, and how you’ll communicate this to them. For example:
- ‘I’m Oscar’s mama and my partner Jill is their mum. We also have close friends who are Oscar’s aunties. They’re a really important part of our support network. It’s important that you know who’s in our family because these people will be in our home with Oscar at times.’
- ‘Quinn’s pronouns are he/him. You might have forgotten. But we’d appreciate you using the right pronouns from now on because it shows respect to Quinn and his gender identity.’
Your child might also be able to communicate information about themselves and their family relationships to NDIS providers and support workers, if they feel OK to do this.
The range of NDIS providers you can choose from might also influence your decisions about what to share. For example, this issue might be more important if you live in a regional or rural area, or the most suitable provider has little knowledge of LGBTQ+ families, or you work with a service with high staff turnover.
Ultimately, you don’t have to ‘come out’ to NDIS providers and workers. It’s a personal decision:
- You might choose not to discuss your LGBTQ+ identities with your NDIS providers and workers if they don’t play a big role in your child’s or family’s life. For example, you might not talk about who’s in your family with the worker who cleans your home.
- You might choose not to be an educator in LGBTQ+ identities in your own home. For example, if a support worker assumes your partner is a friend or relative, you could say, ‘No, this is my partner. We’re in a relationship’. Then you could leave it at that.
- You might decide you don’t want to respond to a support worker’s curiosity about your family because this isn’t your responsibility. For example, you might decide not to comment when you see a worker looking at photos of you and your family.
- You might choose not to engage with intrusive or personal questions or comments. For example, you could just say something like, ‘I don’t really think that’s relevant to Andie’s NDIS goals’.
- You might decide there are things that aren’t appropriate to talk about in front of your child, but that are relevant to your child’s support. So you could say something like, ‘Let’s talk about that later’.
If you’re not happy with NDIS services in your LGBTQ+ home
Your child has the right to learn and develop in safe and respectful environments, including your home. If you’re unhappy with the way an NDIS provider or support worker is treating you, your child or your family in your home, you have options:
- Explain to the NDIS provider or worker why a family-centred approach is important to you.
- Make a complaint about the NDIS provider or worker.
If you can’t resolve the situation, you might choose to change NDIS providers – for example, by moving to another NDIS-funded organisation. If you directly employed your support worker, you might consider terminating their employment in accordance with the conditions of your employment agreement and state and federal employment laws.