An evaluation of Services Our Way, a NSW Government service model designed to build the capacity of Aboriginal people to have greater access to mainstream and disability services and encourage self-directed support.
Services Our Way is a NSW Government service model designed to build the capacity of Aboriginal people to have greater access to mainstream and disability services and encourage self-directed support. The Social Policy Research Centre was commissioned to evaluate the Services Our Way pilot in Nowra, New South Wales, and did so through interviews with families and service providers.
Services Our Way had positive impacts on Aboriginal people with disability and their families. The program helped Aboriginal people access a range of services, meeting immediate priorities of the families. The program was successful in engaging with the Aboriginal community using a culturally appropriate approach – an approach which could be shared with other staff and services to improve the appropriateness of service delivery more broadly. Through the program, families were able to access support and services to participate in social, economic and cultural activities, that helped strengthen and support community and social relationships.
The evaluation could not determine the degree to which families transitioned to mainstream services – the research found that families had urgent needs to be met prior to transitioning to other services.
The Services Our Way program in Nowra was a pilot, which developed from the initial concept in response to local needs. The evaluation identifies a range of issues in providing person centred approaches to Aboriginal people with disability and their families and communities which should influence the future directions under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).