The A.C.T. Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS), is an independent, not-for-profit, advocacy organisation helping people with disabilities, older people and their carers. ADACAS is incorporated pursuant to the ACT Associations Incorporation Act, 1991.
ADACAS Mission Statement
Our mission is to assert, promote and protect the rights and responsibilities of people with disabilities, people who are older and people who are caregivers.
Our objects are:
- To ensure that the voices of disenfranchised and vulnerable people are heard;
- To promote, uphold and defend human rights;
- To empower people within our target group to achieve a life that has value to them; and
- To advocate for community and systemic change that improves the well-being of people with disabilities, people who are older and people who are caregivers.
What is Advocacy?
Advocacy aims to increase a person’s control over goods, services and quality of life, to develop a sense of empowerment and of being valued as an individual. Advocacy focuses on the needs, wishes and rights, including protection of confidentiality, of that person.
The word advocacy comes from Latin and means “to be called to stand beside”.
Advocacy entails standing beside someone and supporting them. Advocacy seeks a satisfactory outcome for a person, so as to enhance their rights and dignity. It has a connotation of change, challenging what is unfair, unjust and wrong.
Advocacy has been described as “functioning (speaking, acting, writing) with minimum conflict of interest on behalf of the sincerely perceived interests of a person or group, in order to promote, protect or defend the welfare of, and justice for, either individuals or groups, in a fashion which strives to be emphatic and vigorous”.(Professor Wolfensberger, Adelaide 1992, quote in Cross J and Zeni L (1993) Safeguarding Advocacy for People with Disabilities in Australia, Disability Advisory Council of Australia).
What Can ADACAS Do For You?
- Speaking up: ADACAS can support you to say what you want or think, and can be with you when you say it;
- Being heard: ADACAS can help and support you to make things different;
- Participation: You are part of the community – ADACAS can help you to become more involved;
- Information: ADACAS can help you find out what services are available, and how you can access them; and
- Decision-making: ADACAS can help you find out about the choices available to you and support you in making decisions relating to those choices.
We provide advocacy through the provision of the following services:
What Happens When I Request Assistance from ADACAS?
When a person seeks assistance from ADACAS an advocate will meet with the person to discuss the issue and note the information needed to make a decision on whether or not ADACAS is able to assist the person. Once a summary of the facts is obtained the issue will be taken to an in-take meeting where ADACAS staff will decide whether the issue falls within the organisational ADACAS, and if the organisation is able to assist. The ultimate decision regarding whether or not the case will be taken would then be communicated to the person.
In circumstances where ADACAS decides to take on a case the assigned advocate will then conduct research so as to obtain a clearer picture of the situation and how the issue might be resolved. The client will then advised of their rights and informed about how the advocacy process both can and can’t assist the client. A plan for resolving the issue will be devised, with the advocate consulting the client in every step of the process. The client will be assisted to identify and make choices as well as to review the advocacy plan developed by the advocate. We will not do something that falls outside the advocacy plan or which you can do yourself.
The privacy of each client is fully respected and your case will be treated with the utmost confidentiality. ADACAS aims to not only work with you in resolving your issue, but also with other important people in your lives such as your family members and guardians. This will only happen where possible and with your agreement.
ADACAS works with clients on an issue basis. Thus, once an issue is resolved the case is closed and only reopened if the client requests assistance in resolving another issue. This therefore means that ADACAS only assists to the extent that the issue remains unresolved, and does not advocate for a client on every single issue that may affect them throughout the course of their lives.
Acknowledgement: ADACAS wishes to acknowledge the generous funding provided by the National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP) - an Australian Government Initiative; the National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP); Mental Health Consumer Advocacy Program (MHCA); and the Home and Community Care program (HACC).