Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation Policy Partnership: Capacity building within South Australian Community
In 2005, the SA Department of the Premier and Cabinet was granted $2.1 million by the AERF (as FARE was then) to develop and implement a framework to assist the South Australian Community to deliver public health interventions and prevention mechanisms, primarily targeting indigenous youth in regional and metropolitan areas.
Two projects were implemented as part of the grant funding including the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yunkinytjatjara (APY) Lands Arts Celebrating Healthy Communities initiative and the Wiltanendi: Becoming Stronger Program in the metropolitan area.
The Carclew Youth Arts Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yunkunytjatjara (APY) Lands Demonstration Project (“APY Lands Demonstration Project” from here on) ran from 2006 to 2008. It aimed to address drug diversion and other life domain outcomes by providing a youth arts program that engaged with communities and delivered serious training in music, visual art, filmmaking and dance to young people.
The original aim of the Wiltanendi Demonstration Project was to trial a new model of case management for young Aboriginal people who engage in at-risk behaviour through poly and injecting drug use. The model of case management was identified as Assertive Community Case Management and Wiltanendi has developed a specialised approach involving the application of two strategies—the Targeted Approach and the Universal Approach. The Targeted Approach involves the use of an Assertive Case Management Approach, in which Case Managers and Mentors are situated in the community and work with clients to facilitate and to work through any issues and problems. This is coupled with the Universal Approach which involves the development of partnerships and activities to provide broader opportunities for these young people to engage, which would lead to drug use reduction.
The Wiltanendi Demonstration Project has grown and changed in the 4 years since it commenced. Initially the structure focused on providing the Assertive Case Management with some supporting activities and partnerships, whereas it now operates with a smaller focus on Case Management and a greater emphasis on education in the newly created Wiltanendi Paiendi educational sites. This change has been reflected in the change of fundamental referral criteria to the project—from young Aboriginal people with drug or alcohol issues to young Aboriginal people who have drug or alcohol issues and are significantly disengaged from education.
Carclew Youth Arts Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yunkunytjatjara (APY) Lands Demonstration Project
The context and background for properly understanding these key findings are given in the body of the Evaluation Report. The 12 Theme headings will act as your guide to find out more. In short form, the key findings were:
- There were some excellent success stories from the project.
- There were limited outcomes across the whole APY Lands, in terms of both the number of young people mentored and the number of communities actually involved.
- There was some evidence of good intergenerational flow-on effects, with families becoming proud of their children’s achievements and supporting the activities—providing both emotional and material support.
- There was little evidence for drug diversion outcomes, although this was not directly targeted and outcomes would be difficult to show in any case. A few anecdotes suggest some improvement in some young people involved in the program.
- For the young people involved, particularly those in the target community of Amata, there was also evidence of positive outcomes outside of the arts, including: personal development; providing positive role models for other youth; giving a reason to stop using drugs; self-reported improvements in literacy, numeracy and computer skills; raising the arts profile; participation itself; and participation by non-Anangu.
- There has been some valuable infrastructure and social capital development as a result of this Project that could be utilized in future initiatives.
- Some schools in the APY Lands expressed concern about the APY Lands Demonstration Project, including: duplicating programs they already run; lack of consultation; not being more involved in the schools and providing some of the social capital development in the schools for future developments; and expecting young people to drop classroom work to do the APY Lands Demonstration Project.
- The community of Amata was, in general, very pleased with the way the APY Lands Demonstration Project consulted and worked with the community.
- Much of the success of the APY Lands Demonstration Project is attributable to the quality of staff selected; this is an important issue to be thought through if similar programs want to replicate without the staff.
- Most of those involved in the communities wanted the Program to continue.
The Wiltanendi Demonstration Project
In short form, the key findings were:
- It is clear that the recording of information in case files, the overall data collection, and the subsequent reporting by case managers and workers is substandard and needs to be greatly improved. Because of this, Wiltanendi is unable to clearly demonstrate what it is really doing due to poor record keeping and data collection processes. Although this was a demonstration project, it is difficult to show what has actually been demonstrated.
- The quality of client records is also substandard. Two audits by the Evaluation Team failed to find key data and what was recorded was inconsistent. While in the case files which were audited the Evaluation found elements of outreach, engagement of young Aboriginal people and families, and notes relating to case planning, there was no evidence of intervention strategy plans, actions relating to these plans, progress against plans, reviews, or intersectorial contacts with other agencies. There was no documentation of case conference or case plans.
- In terms of upward reporting, we were not able to obtain any of the regular reports from Wiltanendi to DASSA. The reports to SIU that we sighted were sketchy, numbers did not add up, and there were inconsistencies throughout. SIU also reported difficulties with the reporting.
- Because of poor record-keeping it is unclear how many young people in Wiltanendi use drugs or alcohol, and how many have stopped or reduced, despite this being the main referral criterion.
- Wiltanendi’s philosophy has been to not offer specific drug and alcohol counselling or interventions but to focus on improving the lives and skills of young people with the inference that in the long-term this will change drug use. This was criticized by some stakeholders and the rationale for this approach needs to be discussed more widely and the evidence reviewed.
- With all such broad-brush approaches, it is naturally more difficult to show clear outcomes, but this should not be an excuse to downplay record-keeping. In interviews we heard of some drug-use reductions for some clients, but we also heard that many are still using except when they are on-site at the Wiltanendi Paiendi sites.
- Many activities that are run through Wiltanendi function in a positive way for the clients according to interviews with key stakeholders, clients, and families. The clients, for example, reported feeling safe and empowered at the Wiltanendi Paiendi sites, and have enjoyed activities provided by the Partnerships. However, there is little documented to support this.
- Another positive feature is that a skilled Aboriginal workforce has been successful in engaging with marginalised Aboriginal young people and their families.
- As well, families in general report feeling involved with, and trusting of, Wiltanendi.
- The work undertaken with clients’ families is central to the aims of the project, but ultimately it is secondary to the work directed at the young people. The service to families is not fully developed and staff expressed regret at this being the case.
- Wiltanendi has changed its initial aim to have a greater emphasis on two newly created Wiltanendi Paiendi educational sites. The Evaluators found no evidence that these changes had been discussed among the stakeholders, including DASSA, SIU or AERF.
- The focus has shifted to the Wiltanendi Paiendi educational sites but it is unclear how many Wiltanendi clients attend or have attended the Wiltanendi Paiendi sites. Evaluators were unable to access educational scores and attendance records from Wiltanendi.
- The shift in focus to the Wiltanendi Paiendi educational sites resulted in a slight change of referral criteria from its funded target population of young Aboriginal people with significant drug and alcohol issues to young Aboriginal people who have drug and or alcohol issues and who also have significantly disengaged from education. While this has not changed the target group significantly, as far as we could tell, it was unclear from any records kept what was happening to those Wiltanendi clients who were not attending the Wiltanendi Paiendi educational site.
- The shift in focus to the Wiltanendi Paiendi educational sites has also resulted in a change from the Assertive Community Case Management approach to one based more at the educational sites. This has muddied the focus for case managers, we believe. Most stakeholders acknowledged that Assertive Case Management is the named approach, but they were unable to describe the nature of this specific style of Case Management in any depth.
- The Case Management staff at Wiltanendi have an understanding that they are doing Case Management and could give explanations for, and use key elements of Case Management, such as addressing life domains. However, the client case file audits show that staff do not clearly understand the link between assessment, exploring the clients life domains, and the development of a case plan that is individualised and actualised for each client.
- It can be concluded that the shift in focus to the Wiltanendi Paiendi educational sites has changed the stated aims of the original project in significant ways but, as mentioned above, we could not find evidence that this change had been widely discussed amongst partners.
- Wiltanendi has developed a number of key partnerships, and most have provided services that clients and families reported to be positive. However, Evaluators found a lack of up to date information on the partnerships. Ten of the twelve formal agreements provided by Wiltanendi were invalid because they were out of date or were seemingly not signed by appropriate parties.
- There were also organizational concerns. The staff do not seem well supported and a contracted clinical psychologist seems to be the main support person for most of the case workers.
- There is an organisational hole in the area of program management, with no person appearing to be acting in the program manager’s role.
- There are many communication issues in the Wiltanendi structures, not just within Wiltanendi staff but with key partner relationships under stress due to communication difficulties and lack of clarity regarding roles between agencies.
Guerin, B, Tedmanson, D, Savelsberg, H, Booth, Y, Lockley, D, Gursansky, D & Kennedy, R (2010) Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation Policy Partnership: Evaluation Report Carclew Youth Arts Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yunkunytjatjara Lands Demonstration Project
Guerin, B, Lockley, D, Booth, Y, Gursansky, D, Kennedy, R, Tedmanson, D, Savelsberg , H (2010) Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation Policy Partnership Evaluation Report: Evaluation of the Wiltanendi Demonstration Project.