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Ms Jill Bennett

"Originally Nulsen Haven started as the Mentally Incurable Children's Association, and was founded in 1954. The first home called Nulsen Haven was officially opened in 1956 and Premier Hawke said 'with this home WA has set an example to the rest of Australia, for the home was the first of its kind in the country'. The intent and purpose was always to create a home for the children who could not be managed in their family situation. There was no such thing as early intervention or home help or any other of the services that we take for granted these days.

Also we need to be aware that many families still to this day face difficulties accepting that they have a child with a disability, and also being able to find suitable services for their child - and that is happening more and more today.

It is extremely important to acknowledge how far many of the residents that we currently support have come, and how extremely difficult it has been to get to our current situation for residents, staff, families and the Association. It was a constant process of challenge to change attitudes, funding bodies, governments, community, parents and staff. In 1987 the Association's first group home was opened in Kalamunda and provided a home in the community for six people from the AIH critical wait list. In 1989 the first of the Association's 40 residents moved from the Hostel into their new home in the community, and the last three moved in December 1992. All our residents, including 24 people from DSC facilities, have settled happily into their new environments, and families are very happy with their son/daughter's lifestyles and experiences.

For over 30 years I have been an advocate for the rights and responsibilities of people with disabilities. I have had the privilege of working with a great team of people and have made life-long friends with many of those I've made the journey with. Externally, I was able to work with many people who have had a significant impact and input into changing people's lives.

I am sure that whatever threats the future holds, that the management of the Association will do its utmost to provide quality care and services for its residents. I believe that it will continue to go from strength to strength."