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“When I was appointed as the CEO in April 2008, Greystanes had been fully devolved for at least two years. So I asked parents of those people now living in the new Community Living Program how they felt back when they were originally told that Greystanes had to close. Overwhelmingly they said they were alarmed, fearful and angry. Many said they were happy with Greystanes at the time, and the prospect of moving their son or daughter into the community raised major concerns for them, concerns about safety, health care, community acceptance, and ongoing security of tenure.

I then asked how they felt about the new Community Living Service and what it provides for their son or daughter, now that Greystanes had closed. Overwhelmingly parents expressed very strong and very positive opinions about how so much better things were, compared to when their son or daughter was in Greystanes.

Their comments included things like the right to live in the community and be fully included, better health care, community access, the dignity of living alongside ordinary neighbours, individualised attention, and privacy and space.

Most significantly, a number of parents said to me: if only I had known back then how much better things could be for my child. If only I had known, it would have saved me so much anguish, and I wouldn’t have had to waste so much energy in trying to fight it.

All of this was so important, and it is the reason I decided to produce the DVD A Place to Call Home –talking about devolution. I thought if I could capture this it would help a lot of parents who currently have their adult sons and daughters in residential institutions. There were important and powerful stories here that needed to be told. I thought it might also help other people who have involvement in large residences, such as front line staff, service providers and of course funding agencies and government.”

– John Le Breton, Greystanes CEO, at the launch of A Place to Call Home, 24 May 2010. To download this speech in its entirety, click here:

JLB Launch of Place To Call Home JLB Launch of Place To Call Home (210 KB)

DVD can be viewed here.

The video from “A Place to Call Home” is used by the Shut In Campaign to Close Institutions. For more about the Shut In Campaign, click here (video).

Advocacy and Support Advocacy and Support (487 KB)


“A Place To Call Home: Talking About Devolution” (2010)
DVD including electronic Facilitator’s Guide

Greystanes Children’s Home in Leura, NSW was a large residential centre for children and young adults with disabilities and complex health care needs. In the late 1990s, a decision was made to close the institution and support people to live in the community. This is the story of devolution – one of the most important social policy initiatives taking place in modern Australian society.

Introduced by Julie McCrossin (Broadcaster – ABC’s Life Matters, Good News Week), this DVD records the journeys of some of the Greystanes residents, families and staff as they look back on their life-changing experience. Other parents whose adult children still reside in institutions also share their hopes and fears of a future life in the community.

Ms Jan Daisley, a leading advocate for people with disabilities, provides a personal insight into institutional care and her quest to find her own “place to call home”.

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