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Women-founded social network Kindship raises $1 million to support parents raising children with disabilities

Four women and mothers who have banded together to help the parents of children with disabilities have crowdfunded $1 million for their social networking app.

The Birchal campaign closed this week with $1.037 million from 604 investors. Kindship will use the money to help parents navigate the NDIS. They plan to launch Kindship Wallet, an AI-enhanced feature in their app that allows parents to budget, track, and manage their child’s NDIS funding.

The Kindship app pairs parents raising children with disabilities with parents new to the experience to help them navigate a diagnosis and associated healthcare and funding systems. About 2,500 families use the app each month, and more than two-thirds are already on the Kindship Wallet study waiting list. 77% of parents on the Kindship social networking app have signed up for the Kindship Wallet waiting list.

There are currently 266,000 NDIS participants under the age of 18, who are entitled to an additional $1,248 per year budget to hire a plan administrator, which is where the wallet comes in.

Kindship was co-founded by Summer Petrosius, Sandy Golder, Steph Wicks, and Tara Thompson, and in their own survey of more than 1,000 families raising children with disabilities, found that a quarter of parents spend more than 5 hours a week navigating the NDIS.

Petrosius, Kindship’s CEO, said the difficulties of dealing with the NDIS are affecting the health of the parents involved.

“Of the 1 in 4 parents who spend more than 5 hours a week navigating the NDIS, 83% neglect exercise, 71% miss routine medical checkups, 31% have given up looking for work, 53% never leave the house out, 50% don’t go on family holidays, 68% say they don’t have time to properly clean their house, 63% suffer from sleep deprivation and 57% feel isolated and hardly ever see their friends and family,” she said.

Amanda Kenny, Kindship’s Head of Community Wellbeing, and mother of five, including Ashton, who has autism, ADHD, anxiety and a learning disability, is a typical example.

“I have dealt with my son’s refusal to go to school, so between having to chase him through the streets after dropping him off at school, being called by the school to pick him up and had to drive him to his multiple therapy visits, I barely had any time left for myself,” she said.

“The limited time I was given, I spent on the NDIS or caring for my husband and father who were both battling cancer. The weight of the world was on my shoulders and the NDIS made life even more difficult.”

Co-founder Sandy Golder, who is raising her own child with a disability, said the app allows parents to provide feedback on budget management and spending ideas, as well as local services and other support they use to help their children.

“The demand for disability support and services often exceeds what is readily available,” he said.

“It is not unusual for families to call numerous service providers seeking help for their child and then be put on waiting lists for more than 12 months. This experience adds to the distress and difficulties associated with coping with their child’s diagnosis and disability. We provide parents with crowd-sourced provider ratings and waitlist data, which will help families understand their options and find alternatives. This has never been done before.”

Golder added that Kindship also employs plan administrators who are parents of children with disabilities, such as Kenny.

“The Kindship wallet gives our community the opportunity to consciously spend their NDIS Plan Management budget and directly contribute to other parents’ employment! Not only do they help improve the financial well-being of families with disabilities, but they also have access to plan administrators who really understand what everyday living and navigating the NDIS are like. Amanda Kenny is a great example,” she said.

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