The National Disability Insurance Agency asked for an Aboriginal child with cerebral palsy to be placed into care because the agency would no longer pay his accommodation costs.
The 13-year-old boy has spastic quadriplegia, a severe form of cerebral palsy, and requires the use of a wheelchair.
He was placed into the care of child protection in early 2017 after the NDIA withdrew funding for an accommodation support package in Tennant Creek on the grounds that 24-hour support, care and housing was not a reasonable and necessary support.
The move caused his mother, who also has complex health problems and was unable to perform some aspects of his care for cultural reasons, to lose guardianship of her son to the state, meaning she could no longer make decisions about his health and care.
She recently secured a shared guardianship arrangement with the help of a support worker, but her son remains in care.
She has challenged the decision to withdraw accommodation support in the administrative appeals tribunal and is awaiting a hearing.
Evidence put before the tribunal includes two letters from senior NDIA managers to Territory Families, the department that includes child protection, requesting that the state take over the care of the child.
In a letter to the chief executive of Territory Families, Ken Davies, in December 2016, the NDIA said the boy required “significant support” and that his mother “has been unable to care for him for some time”.
He had been living in housing provided by a national disability insurance scheme service provider under a short-term accommodation funding plan since January 2016, which provided “significant support for his daily activities and personal care”.
The NDIA said it was “unlikely” accommodation costs would be covered in his new plan, and that it did not believe placing the boy into kinship care would be appropriate.