/ Disability

Careseekers chats to Chosen Family

Tell us how Chosen Family is different to other disability providers?

As a team our lived experience coupled with our trauma informed & intersectional framework makes us different and a delight in the sector. Chosen Family provides a community-centric ecosystem with services that are: multicultural, flexible and enriching to all. Our community continues to re-imagine how our services will create platforms of equality, inclusion and belonging. Our services are projects of our co laboured efforts that have trauma informed practice and person-centred values weaved into them. We are different because we support those who fall within the gaps.

What gap is it trying to fill?

We specialise in participants and are not limited to: participants who have: Behaviours of concern, Psychosocial disability, LGBTQ + individuals, drug and alcohol interventions and forensic (justice) participants.

What is the biggest issue as a Service Provider with the communities you work with when it comes to disability services?

For participants: I would have to say technologies and moral frameworks of supremacy which deny the humanity of those who are not deemed “elite”. We have to de-centre our voices as abled individuals and allow those with lived experience to not only come to the table but to drive decision making and conversations.

As Service Providers, I believe it’s our non-billable hours and audit fees to be a registered Provider that is a deterrent in the sector.

What is your grand plan vision for Chosen Family?

*Grand vision for Chosen Family is that we become so agile and flexible that it becomes whatever it needs to be for any individual. Our logo as Chosen Family is a table and a platform. The table displays our values and practice of family and community. We come and break bread together, gain insight from various cultural and gender experiences. You will notice our logo also has a gap at the table and this signifies that eventually they will use the table as a platform to share their passions and advocate for others like themselves. The hope is that we will empower them to go and start their own table and platform to ensure their rights to choice and control & to self-determination and agency are honoured.

We encourage individuals to come & share their story and when you’re ready, we commission you to go and create communities of equity & belonging.*

How has your personal and professional experience shaped you to create an organisation like Chosen Family?

I have over ten-years-experience combined working with community organizations in Australia and in South Africa. My focus has been working with vulnerable and underrepresented communities to improve their capacity building and nurture their resilience. As an admitted solicitor in NSW I have encouraged an equity focused mindset to remove all barriers by attacking imbalances at the root of structures and systems.
I have a well-rounded skill set in the law, operations, compliance, case management, diversity and inclusion & recruitment.

My lived experience as being part of LGBTQ+ community and coming from a CALD background provided me a unique insight into how we as individuals interact with technology, frameworks, policies and systems that can either oppress you or assist you to be seen and heard. My personal story is one of believing and constantly advocating that “one size does not fit all”.

My perspective of intersectionality & trauma informed care looks beyond age, gender, physical ability, race & religion. In addition to that I intentionally look at : one’s beliefs, culture, education, heritage, language, lived experience, nationality, personality, perspective, skills, sexual orientation, social class, work style and personal values.

Therefore, I believe services should be tailored to someone’s needs and their individual goals. I believe we should open our minds and challenge our biases to imagine how we can support each individual with grace and kindness. My eclectic work experience, cultural, faith & sexual background means that I am often misunderstood and shunned away because I am to different. As a harmony of intersections with a mission to bring equity & belonging to those around me, I felt a calling to create something as beautiful as Chosen Family.

Tell us what you think is great about the NDIS and what needs improvement

I’m from South Africa and we don’t have the NDIS or its framework for people who have a disability. I am in awe of what the NDIS has achieved and excited to see where were going. I believe as we begin to have more data, research and lived experience represented, we will see a buy in from society at large. It would be great to see more individuals who have an intersectional experience of disability, culture, gender and sexual diverse expression consulted and represented.

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