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Further reading and case studies

Frequently asked questions about ADHC

ADHC provides several types of direct services as well as funding for NGONon-government Organisations supporting clients with cognitive impairments, including intellectual disability. ADHC is the major service provider to people with intellectual disability in NSW. ADHC also provides information and referral to non-government services.

What makes my client eligible?

  • An IQIntelligence Quotient of two standard deviations below the mean (70 or below, but note that a confidence interval of plus or minus 5 applies, so effectively an IQ of 74 may be accepted)
  • Significant deficits in adaptive behaviour functioning (in two or more areas)
  • Evidence of onset of developmental delay or intellectual disability prior to the age of 18 years. Please note that this includes people with ABI which occurred before the age of 18 years

What is the best way to refer a person to ADHC?

  • Phone and then email the intake officer for the region where your client is based. The ADHC website lists the contact details for each regional information, referral and intake officer

    ADHC contact details - Referral Points and Contacts

  • With the consent of your client, ask the intake officer if your client is already a client or has been a past client of ADHC
  • Make sure you address the eligibility criteria in any application to make it easier for ADHC to say yes!

What information does ADHC require to demonstrate eligibility?

  • The more information you can give the intake officer the better the outcome and the quicker the process for intake will be. The best information would be a psychologist report. If there is no report then evidence such as school reports, Department of Education and Communities counselling records, health records and Centrelink records
  • If you have no documentary evidence such as assessments that demonstrate that your client's disability was present before the age of 18 years, consider supplying ADHC with letters from relatives who knew the person at that time. It is often difficult to suppy more formal evidence in matters where your client is now over 30 years of age.

What if I do not have evidence of disability to provide to ADHC?

  • If there is no assessment then ADHC is theoretically able to undertake its own assessment and should be asked to do so. Be prepared for this to take time. You may want to consider making an application for a grant of Legal Aid to fund an assessment
  • If your client does not have an assessment but there are indicators of an intellectual disability, point these indicators out to ADHC in the referral

Is it worth contacting ADHC even if I think my client will not meet the criteria?

  • Yes. The job of an intake officer is information, referral and intake. Even if your client is unlikely to be eligible for ADHC direct services, it is worth contacting ADHC intake for that client's region so that they can assist with referrals. Many NGOs are funded to work with people with a broader range of disability than ADHC and may be able to provide your client with assistance

Will my client get any priority as a result of their involvement with the criminal justice system?

  • The ADHC Criminal Justice Resource Manual outlines the circumstances that get priority and require ADHC to provide an 'immediate response'.
    The manual is available here - Criminal Justice Resource Manual / Office of the Senior Practitioner
  • Situations classified as needing an 'immediate response' can be found in the ADHC Prioritisation and Allocation Policy
  • Some of the relevant priority circumstances for clients with criminal justice issues include:
    • violence or abuse resulting in the client, family or carer or member of the community being at risk of injury
    • homelessness - as soon as it can be determined that the client has nowhere to live (could be blocking a respite bed, or delaying parole/release)
    • client displaying challenging behaviour such that they are at risk of becoming involved in the Juvenile or Criminal Justice System or who have already been involved in the Juvenile or Criminal Justice System
    • client whose continued living in the community is contingent on receiving services as a condition of bail, bond, parole etc.
    • client who is at imminent risk of entering a more restrictive option and/or whose carer is likely to be at risk unless entry into the service is facilitated.
      (This may include clients who are at risk of incarceration or re-incarceration. It also may apply to young people who have been or are at risk of being inappropriately placed in an aged care nursing home.)
  • When making a request to an intake officer it is important to highlight how your client fits within these categories in order for them to be identified as a priority
  • Use the terminology in the policy as this may make the identification of these clients quicker
  • The term 'immediate' is ADHC's highest priority. However, all responses need to occur within the available resources.
    This means that ADHC can assist a client before or while your client is being assessed for ADHC intake and ADHC eligibility. ADHC can start looking at needs or the client and also possible referrals straight away.
  • The 'response' might entail a client being allocated to a case worker, undertaking a needs assessment, organising court documents, or looking at eligibility or referral

My client used to receive services from ADHC, but no longer does.
How do I check with ADHC to see if they have any reports for my client?

  • Contact the information, referral and intake officer in your client's region and supply them with the appropriate authority to release any assessments on file. Be prepared for this process to take four to six weeks

Is it necessary to go through ADHC to get non-government case management?

  • Many NGONon-government Organisations can accept clients directly
  • Often NGOs are more appropriate for clients. ADHC direct is not always the best option for a particular client
  • Ask the intake officer at the time of referral what other services might be available to your client

How can Behaviour Support Services be accessed for a client?

  • Behaviour Support Services can be accessed by both ADHC direct clients and NGONon-government Organisation serviced clients
  • A referral to Behaviour Support Services usually comes from your client's case manager
  • There may be circumstances where your client does not have a case manager, but they can still receive Behaviour Support Services
  • When referring a client you can request that they be referred to Behaviour Support Services
  • Sometimes lawyers may not know what to request for their client. In such circumstances, it may be appropriate to ask either for a needs assessment to be carried out or to request that your client is allocated a case manager who can make appropriate referrals for them

What can I do if my client's application for ADHC services is knocked back?

  • Request an internal appeal of the decision. This should generally be directed to the Manager of Information, Referral and Intake
  • Sometimes it may be appropriate to request that the Office of the Senior Practitioner be consulted in relation to the appeal
  • Within ADHC, the Office of the Senior Practitioner provides practice leadership for therapy, nursing, psychological and behaviour support services, and delivers a range of specialist services and practice improvement for clients with complex needs and challenging behaviour
  • You can also request, particularly in relation to matters where your client's psychological assessment seems to support eligibility, that the materials be reviewed by the Practice Leader of Psychology. This person is based in the Office of the Senior Practitioner

External review of decisions

Some ADHC decisions may be reviewable by the Administrative Decisions Tribunal.

How do I request services for a client, accelerate services or organise a referral to behaviour intervention etc.?

  • You should request either specific services or an assessment of your client's current needs at the intake office

How can ADHC assist if my client is referred to a drug and alcohol or rehabilitation program?

  • An ADHC case manager may be able to work with a service or program to assist in making adjustments for a client with intellectual disability

Community Justice Program

Community Justice Program (CJP) is aimed at people with intellectual disability who are exiting custody or detention or have a history of incarceration and are at risk of re-offending. It offers a comprehensive and intensive range of supports to assist people to live in the community. Supports offered will vary according to a client's needs but may include supported accommodation.


  • Clients must be eligible for ADHC services
  • Clients must have ongoing contact with the criminal justice system, resulting in time spent in custody
  • Clients must be at continuing risk of re-offending
  • Client's needs must be outside the scope of what ADHC Regional Service can provide

CJP Intake Officer: (02) 9841 9201

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