A capacity-building programme for parents raising young child with a disability or delay

Now and Next Outreach, a New Zealand initiative was launched in 2016 in New South Wales. Since then, it has spread to another 3 countries: New Zealand, Canada and Finland.

Now and Next Outreach

The Now and Next programme is an award winning peer network and family leadership initiative for parents of young children with disabilities and delays in their development. It aims to provide an opportunity for families to inform, support and motivate each other to aim high and see new opportunities for their child now and in the future. The programme was started by two mothers who are also professionals in the disability sector and co-designed with participating families all the way through. The programme was designed and piloted with significant investment from New South Wales government and it was decided to roll it out in New South Wales and nationally in Australia.

The Network’s collective agenda and long-term vision are to “build a social movement to inspire a new generation of parents of young children with disabilities to lead their family’s progress, drawing from a sustainable and deeply embedded peer-networked foundation of knowledge, capacity and creativity”.


Research shows that families building common knowledge are empowered with the ability to better enroll existing formal and informal supports and the knowledge that they can and will create a good life for their children and families (“We’ve got this”).

The programme is delivered by peer facilitators who receive training and leadership development to support their effective work with families. Participants rate their experience very highly – for instance 95% of participants said the programme helped them achieve their goals. The programme is based on rich evidence from Positive Psychology, Mindfulness and Family-Centered Practice and all exercises are drawn from practices that have proven effective.

For more details, research and evidence, photos, videos and updates on this project visit our project blog.

Families' journeys include:

  • An individual creative visioning session to articulate their dreams for their child's positive future
  • Formulating and achieving goals for their children and family – and celebrating as a group
  • Learning with and from each other’s successes
  • Understanding their role in leaning in empowering partnerships with professionals
  • Make better use of informal supports to reach their goals
  • Engage with and contribute to a peer network created by and for the programme’s alumni.

See here some parents' testimonials.

Since 2015, over 350 parents have taken part in this evidence-based programme and are members of the Now and Next Alumni in Australasia. This programme has reached unprecedented father engagement (between 1/3 to 1/2 participants, depending on events and timing) and 48% of Culturally and lingustically diverse families.

Our publications: www.tinyurl.com/now-and-next-publications

This programme won the 2017 Early Childhood Association (ECIA) NSW/ACT Excellence Award and was finalist in the 2017 New South Wales Disability Industry Awards.

This programme has already ran in New Zealand and articles about its impact have been published. This and more is explained in our first presentation.

About us

Annick Janson is passionate about developing leadership with families raising a child with a disability. She was awarded a Ph.D. by the University of Waikato, NZ and a Gallup International Positive Psychology Institute Fellowship, USA. She an Associate, Centre for Cross-cultural Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington and co-founder of the Ecosynergy Group (www.egl.ac.nz) and prior Research Director for Microsoft New Zealand, Partners in Learning and New Zealand Leadership Institute, University of Auckland Business School. She volunteers as the Secretary of the Fast Track Inclusion Trust.

Annick strives to encourage her three children to take up, and design, life opportunities. Her lived experience includes coaching her son through his leadership journey as an emerging artist (www.yanivjanson.com).

Sylvana Mahmic's interest in disability began 24 years ago, when her first child Abdul-Karim was diagnosed with a disability. Seeking to understand what lay ahead for her son, she completed post graduate study in special education and is the CEO of Plumtree Early Intervention (www.plumtree.org.au/family-network). She is currently a doctoral candidate researching individualised funding in the early childhood intervention context.

Sylvana is an advocate for people with disabilities and their families and has served on over 15 reference and advisory groups in addition to five Ministerial appointments. She is currently the Vice President of Early Childhood Intervention Australia NSW Chapter and immediate past President. She serves on the National Disability Insurance Scheme Independent Advisory Council that she has been appointed to since 2013.

Since 2009 Sylvana, her son and the extended family have been learning about how to use a self-managed package using individualised funding and she uses these experiences to shine a light on the potential of this approach for people with a disability and their families.

Our philosophy and actions

We believe that families lead social change by example and through helping each other. Our participants get hands-on learning. We use an evidence-based model and evaluate the model and its outcomes We collaborate with our social entrepreneurship colleagues in the UK to share knowledge about social enterprise and create a community of practice learning model for staff.

Our  training is based on the Let’s Get Real: Disability framework. 

Approximate cost

To be determined with participants.


4 days


  • Led by disabled people
  • Check with training provider for details
  • Distance option (for example, e-learning)
  • Off-site (at training provider or other premises)