Why it Matters

A range of resources to accompany the Why It Matters Booklet series. Topics covered include Advocacy, Employment and Succession Planning. These booklets have been developed as part of the Anne Cross Leadership Initiative, a partnership between Uniting Care Queensland (UCQ) and CRU, created to honour the contribution of Anne to UCQ during her years as the Chief Executive Officer. The initiative aims to contribute to strong, principled leadership amongst people with disability and families across Queensland to work towards better lives for people with disability.

1. Why Advocacy Matters

Two people smiling.

Why Advocacy Matters

This guide is designed to help families and friends to advocate for their loved ones with disabilities. This booklet offers practical and emboldening advice to help you advocate for your family member and work towards a more inclusive and valued life. We hope the principles outlined here will be valuable as you stand by your loved one and walk towards a shared vision full of possibility.

2. Why Employment Matters

Image of young woman with down syndrome working in Childcare Center

Why Employment Matters

The Employment Handbook is a resource intended to benefit people with a disability in preparing for, seeking out and improving their employment opportunities and goals throughout their working life. Employment plays a vital role in improving the economic, social, and personal well being for all Australians. We hope that this booklet will introduce readers to common employment processes as well as new ideas that can assist them to pursue their employment goals more successfully.

3. Why Succession Planning Matters

Woman in a wheelchair in front of a laptop talking and planning with two other women around the same age of 25-35 years.

Why Succession Planning Matters

This booklet has been produced to share the work and thinking of many families who have been proactive in both building and safeguarding a good life for their family members with a disability. In particular, we have drawn on the work of Jeremy Ward. We hope this booklet will assist people with disabilities and their families to have the conversations they need to have now, in order to prepare for the future.

Resource List



How can Advocacy Help Me?

Speaking Up For You (SUFY)

"This video is aimed at people with disability who want to learn more about advocacy. It talks about human rights and how advocacy can help to have your human rights protected and taken seriously. It also talks about how Advocates work and how they can help you. This information is also helpful for family members, friends and workers."


Developing a Vision for Inclusion

Community Resource Unit Ltd.

"This shares the stories of Millie, Benji and Will and how they have developed and used a Vision Statement."


Support Writing a Vision

"Having a vision of what is important in making up a Good Life, lets us take control and be clear about the direction we are heading and directly influence our imaginations of what is possible.  This is why it is so important that the vision not only reflects the person, but is full of hope and possibility of a life that is rich with hope, possibility and potential."


Helpful questions to consider when first writing a vision statement:

"A vision document capturing long-term hopes and dreams can be a powerful tool for sharing long-term goals and achieving that vision. Family members may hold this vision until the person for whom the vision is centred around can claim it for themselves."



Image of Writing a Vision Statement Document


Family Advocacy Cheat Sheet Document - 17 Tips and strategies

"If you want inclusion… believe in it, fight for it. Advocating for your child is a muscle; it gets stronger the more you do it. Soon you’ll be less grateful that you were offered a seat at the table and become a bit more pushy about what you want for your child. This will stun you; it will probably stun others around you. You’ll realise you had a hidden street fighter inside of you." - Meredith Irish

Image of the Advocacy Cheat Sheet Document


Inclusion Alberta

"Inclusion Alberta is a family-based, non-profit federation that advocates on behalf of children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families. We share a dream, with our partners and allies, where children and adults are valued, participating and welcomed community members. We are deeply committed to enabling families and individuals to be fully included in community life."


Why Employment Matters?

"Employment plays a vital role in improving economic, social, and personal well-being for all Australians. We hope that this booklet will introduce readers to common employment processes as well as new ideas that can assist them to pursue their employment goals more successfully."


The Goodlife Website

"It may seem obvious, but when helping anyone to live a life that is meaningful and enriching for them it is essential you begin with them."


Getting Ready to Talk to Employers and Preparing a Pitch

"A pitch is a thoughtful personal approach to describe who you are, what you have to offer, and why an employer should consider you. A successful pitch catches the employer’s attention and responds positively and realistically to any questions the employer may have."

Image of Example Pitch document


Know Your Employment Rights

Australian Human Rights Commission

"Disability discrimination is when a person with a disability is treated less favourably than a person without the disability in the same or similar circumstances. A person with a disability has a right to the same employment opportunities as a person without a disability. If a person with a disability can do the main activities or ‘inherent requirements’ of a job, then they should have an equal opportunity to do that job.

Woman in a wheelchair wearing sports wear competing in a race.


Customised Employment

Marc Gold & Associates

"Customised Employment creates employment positions based on the interests, contributions, and ideal conditions of successful employment for the employment seekers, and the unmet needs of the employer. Through detailed planning, negotiation with employer, and provision of systemic instruction during on the onboarding and training period, Customised Employment ensures that the needs of both the employer and employment seeker are met."


Discovering Customised Employment

National Disability Services

"Customised Employment is a person-centred approach to employment supports and services. The goal of customised employment is to tailor a job to fit the skills, interests, strengths and support needs of a person with disability whilst meeting the needs of business. Customised Employment consists of 2 key stages: The Discovery Process and Job Carving."

Image of animated characters on an info-graphic, Speech bubble reading "The more your support teams knows about you the more opportunity there is to tailor a good job match." Further information about the Discovery Process.



A Customised Employment Story

Will Coventry

"This video shares the story of Will Coventry and was developed as part of School to Work: "Our vision for Will has always been that he lives a typical life, just like his older brother Henry. One part of this means having a job and the opportunity to contribute to his world." 


Micro-Enterprises - A Meaningful Employment Alternative


"One of the ways you can be employed is to have your own microenterprises. A microenterprise, also called a microbusiness, is a small business that is simple and low-cost to start up. They can also be owned and operated by one person. Microenterprises can be built around your interests, hobbies and strengths."


A Micro-Enterprise Story

Jack Baggoley

"This video shares the story of Bobby and was created as part School to Work,  "Jack felt that starting a small business of his own allowed him more freedom to explore things that interested him. Jack’s family helped him with the research and planning to get the business off the ground."




Understanding Circles of Support


"These videos were produced by Community Resource Unit 2018,for the Circles of Support and Microboards project (COSAM).  The first features a series of interviews with Circle members who discuss their roles and contributions but also share how being a circle member has enhanced their life. In the second video, three Circles of Support Facilitators share their learnings and insights about the role of the facilitator and the importance of clarity in that role"


Resources About Circles of Support

Imagine More

"Establishing a circle of support can be one way to safeguard the future when families are no longer around to carry the vision. Circles can provide security of the vision to be realised."


Taking Charge of Joe's Future

Community Resource Unit

"This video shares the story of Joe and his family and their thoughts and experience with Succession Planning,  "In the end, we can never truly control what will happen in the future. We can only put in place as many safeguards as we can, knowing that the best safeguard is to have committed people who know and care about us, our family member or friend. Succession planning means working now to build and maintain these relationships for the future."




The Art of Asking

Ric Thompson

Ric Thompson is Coordinator of a small community building agency, Inclusion Works, in Townsville, Queensland. Over the past thirty years Ric has maintained a ‘passion’ for the ongoing development of inclusive communities for individuals with a disability and their families."Asking is natural. We carry it out in our daily lives, at the shops, at work or school, and with our families. Yet when it comes to asking members of the community to stand alongside and with individuals with a disability and their families we enter a period of silence and apprehension. I began wondering why this is so."


Giving Trusted People the Information They Need

A Guide by Janet Klees

"This guide is intended for serious content and use, rather than an entertaining update or even a fairly general introduction to a person. It has been developed to hold and present, concrete, practical and respectful information of the kind that only close family members and friends can glean over the space of much time. Through trial and error, I have found that this can be a helpful way to convey important and detailed information that will help make sure that a supported person is understood within a broad, caring and valued context."

Download PDF version here


All About Me Template

"This document shares prompting questions to help friends and family bring together important information about the family member they are supporting. It also includes some examples to further illustrate what this might look like"

Download the Word version here

Download the PDF version here

Image of the all about me template with text from document and CRU Logo


One-Page Profile Templates

Helen Sanderson Associates

"If you are interested in creating more detailed one-page profiles, you can access more person-centered templates though the link below."

Image of Template document


A Guide to Supported Decision Making

Western Australia's Individualised Services (WAiS)

"We all use a range of supports when we might want to make a decision, especially if the decision will have a big impact or consequences for us. We might ask for guidance and information from professionals, friends, family or colleagues. We might choose certain people to help us with our decisions, based on what we know about them and the support they can offer."


An Introduction to Supported Decision Making

Michael Kendrick

“Supported decision-making is a potential alternative to guardianship and related forms of substituted decision-making that allows the individual with a disability to consult with a mix of personally selected supporters to make his or her own choices about their life."


A Compass for the Journey

Wendy Stroeve Family Advocacy's 2007 Odyssey Conference

"Wendy believes that a good quality of life, in connection with family, friends and community, with jobs, interests and opportunities does not happen for people with disability by chance. But it may happen as a result of a clear vision and determined action. She suggests the vision of a positive life can become a kind of compass, a tool to assist a person with disability and their family navigate toward a rich and varied life, included in the community."


A Structured Planning Session

"There is no magic recipe for planning – each family will have a different style. The following structure is an example collected from the experiences of families over time."

Download the Word version here

Download the PDF version here

Image of the Structured Planning Session Document


Compiling the Necessary Resources for the Plan

An Outline of  a Memorandum of Wishes

"Parents and family members often write a Memorandum of wishes containing their hopes for their loved ones future. In this way, the family can record their preferences on such matters as education, housing and support options. These wishes do not bind the new legal guardian of the loved one, but they may influence the guardian’s decisions in the future."


Choreographing Life

Homes West Association Inc.

"How authority and responsibility can be delegated and shared in right relationship in the lives of people with a disability when they use services that support daily life."

This document was an initiative of the Stewardship Group associated with Homes West, with its content facilitated at a Family Day workshop and written by Jan Dyke.

Image of document cover titles Choreographing Life