Wellington After-Care Association
Wellington After-Care was a pioneer in the field of Community Based Support in New Zealand - for people with intellectual disabilities.
It began in a very small way (two afternoons a week) in 1926, but officially formed as a Voluntary Organisation in 1928 and registered as an Incorporated Society in 1929. It started out providing an alternative for children who through the new Education Grading System at the time, were considered uneducable. Only what were considered "educable" children were admitted to ‘special’ classes.
At this time all the workers for After-Care gave voluntary service. From the beginning the children and young adults were taught handicrafts, enjoyed picnics and various outings and were kept occupied in a loving environment receiving personal help when needed.
From these beginnings After-Care changed periodically over the years in its service provision. More and more adults attended and more and more people with a wide range of disabilities found their way to the centre.
After-Care became a place to go when there was nowhere else and it consequently became difficult to cater for such a huge range of different needs.
In 1992, the organisation began to offer a range of living skills programmes and other learning opportunities, as well as continuing with a range of hand crafts. The focus then moved towards people learning or re-learning skills and equipping people to participate in the wider community.
In 1994 Wellington After-Care addressed issues arising from trying to provide needs based programmes for people with intellectual disabilities as well as people with psychiatric disabilities. The planning towards providing separate services for Mental Health Consumers began, which was timely in terms of the de-institutionalisation process of Porirua Hospital and the move to Community Based Care.
In 1996 ACEmployment, our Supported Employment Service was established and continues to place and support people with disabilities in mainstream workplaces in the open labour market ensuring real work for real pay. ACEmployment also provides transition services for students with high and very high support needs during their last year in college. This service assists the student and their family to make a successful transition from school into community based services such as ACEmployment, Ace House or further educational opportunities.
Ace House continues as a community service for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities focusing on social skills, life-skills and supporting people to participate in their community.
From small beginnings, Wellington After-Care Association now provides three services for adults with disabilities in the greater Wellington area.