MHDCD Project

9.3 Service Capacity

The culmination of structural system deficiencies, institutional racism, policy experiments and service 'silos', in both budgetary and service terms, has not served the interests of Indigenous people in child, disability and education service areas (MacGillivray & Baldry 2013, 25). Non-criminal justice services and agencies have the most potential for preventative and support capacity for Indigenous people with mental and cognitive disability, yet their siloed nature counteracts attempts at coherent holistic and integrated support for adults and children with complex needs. Aboriginal adults and children who have these multiple and complex support needs cross the boundaries of many services and yet often fall outside of the remit of any one service, raising questions about the role and responsibilities of government and non-government agencies (Baldry, Dowse, McCausland & Clarence 2012, 77).

The key challenge emerging is service implementation and delivery for those with complex needs, as this is difficult for one individual service provider or service type to deliver. Attempts at co-location and an 'all under one roof' approach have not adequately provided full service integration. Aboriginal people with mild or borderline intellectual disabilities who also have drug and alcohol issues or lengthy offending histories are the most at risk of being excluded from all service support, propelling them back into offending pathways and homelessness (Baldry, Dowse, McCausland & Clarence 2012, 79). As a consequence, diversion from prison is difficult as services in the community lack the required information and expertise to appropriately and effectively support Aboriginal people with multiple and complex support needs. This is particularly the case in regional and remote areas, in addition to the social and economic pressures experienced daily by many Aboriginal communities. Presently, even minimal service integration for the wider community is a challenging endeavor for government agencies. 

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