Yooralla is one of Australia’s largest non-profit disability services organisations in Australia, supporting over 30,000 Victorians living with a disability.
Yooralla employs over 2,100 staff throughout Victoria to provide community services including accommodation, respite, day services, therapy, recreation, education and self-advocacy to children and adults alike. Yooralla also provides an extensive range of assistive and communication technologies through their Independent Living Centre, located in Brooklyn, Melbourne. Yooralla's services are developed in partnership with people with disability and in many cases, their families and carers. The organisation provides essential services for people of all ages and disabilities, regardless of whether a person is born with or acquires a disability as the result of accident, ill health or age.
Yooralla was established by Evangeline Ireland in 1918 when she opened a free kindergarten for children with disability in inner-suburban Melbourne. The kindergarten was named “Yooralla” - an Aboriginal word meaning "place of love".
Yooralla's vision is to help achieve 'a world where people with disability are equal citizens'. Its mission is 'to provide quality, sustainable and flexible services that uphold human rights and create opportunities, empowering individuals to live the life they choose'. The CEO of Yooralla is Dr Sherene Devanesen, who was appointed to the position in February 2015. Dr Devanesen has over 30 years’ experience in the management of health services and medical administration. She has a strong reputation in consumer consultation and engagement, and in achieving quality outcomes for human and community services.
In November 2014, the Napthine government and the Victorian opposition both pledged to hold an inquiry into the state disability sector in response to an investigation by Four Corners and Fairfax airing allegations that Yooralla failed to act on warnings about a carer who sexually assaulted vulnerable clients. Yooralla CEO Sanjib Roy resigned as a result of the allegations. Former National Disability Commissioner Graeme Innes has called for a national inquiry as the National Disability Insurance Scheme would expand the number of group homes for Australians with disability.
In February 2015, the Australian Senate committed to holding a national inquiry into the abuse of disabled people in institutions and homes across Australia.