Following a public meeting which highlighted parents concerns around the Domiciliary Care Allowance Scheme an NGO DCA Working Group was set up last March, comprising of representatives of a number of NGOs who support parents of and people with disabilities. This NGO working group included representatives of Down’s Syndrome Ireland (DSI), Inclusion Ireland, Irish Autism Action (IAA) Special Needs Parents Association (SNPA), The Carers Association and The Midlands Regional Forum of People with Disabilities(MPWD).

The NGO Domiciliary Care Allowance Working Group confirmed that it was invited by the Department of Social Protection, to participate in the Steering Group announced by Min. Burton to review the Domiciliary Care Allowance Scheme. We indicated to the Department that we were pleased to participate and nominated three members to represent the NGO DCA Working Group, in line with the Department’s request.

The NGO’s were represented on the Department of Social Protection DCA Steering Group by Lorraine Dempsey Chairperson SNPA, Jacinta Walsh IAA and Mary Dunne MPWD. (Note- Claire Duffy, Policy Advisor The Carers Association later replaced Mary Dunne on the group) Members of the DCA Warriors lobbying group were also represented.

As part of the review, a Public Consultation process began in August and closed on the 28th September. Parents, individuals, groups and NGO’s were invited to make a submission using the following template as a guide.This afforded parents an opportunity to have their say on the DCA Scheme and we encouraged parents to participate and complete the submission form.

To view Special Needs Parents Association submission click here

We also be made a joint submission as part of the DCA Working Group consisting of The Carers Association, Inclusion Ireland, Irish Autism Action, Midlands Forum for People with Disabilities and Down Syndrome Ireland.

The review conducted by the Department of Social Protection DCA Steering Group was completed in December 2012 following analysis of public consultation submissions and interviews with randomly selected DCA recipients and organisations. The process was both engaging and positive and a report with recommendations from the Steering Group on the DCA Scheme was prepared for Minister Burton for consideration. We are very confident that should recommendations in the report be sanctioned by Minister Burton, it will result in a more accessible and straight forward system for parents to navigate and provide more clarity for future applicants.

Note: The reviews of individual existing DCA recipients is currently suspended until the process is reinstated by Minister Burton. Existing applicants may still be refused and have the option of having the decision appealed. Under the current independent appeals process, unsuccessful applicants will automatically have the decision reviewed by the DCA Section prior to an independent Appeals Officer making a determination.

We will update members in due course.