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The Benefits of a Life-first employment program for Indigenous Australian families: Implications for ‘Closing the Gap’

Authors:

Lynsey Brown ,

Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity, Flinders University, AU
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Katy Osborne,

Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity, Flinders University, AU
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Ruth Walker,

Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity, Flinders University, AU
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Megan Moskos,

National Institute of Labour Studies, Flinders University, AU
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Linda Isherwood,

National Institute of Labour Studies, Flinders University, AU
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Katherine Patel,

Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity, Flinders University, AU
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Fran Baum,

Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity, Flinders University, AU
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Debra King

School of Social and Policy Studies, Flinders University, AU
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Abstract

There are significant and enduring inequities in education and employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. In taking a ‘life-first’ approach to service provision the Building Family Opportunities Program (BFO) was able to successfully increase Indigenous Australians’ engagement with education and employment in South Australia. The evaluation of the BFO included quantitative administrative and survey data for 110 Indigenous families collected over a three year period, and qualitative data from interviews with 13 Indigenous jobseekers and focus groups with 24 case managers. Quantitative data revealed that similar proportions of Indigenous and non-Indigenous jobseekers achieved positive education/training and employment outcomes as a result of the program. Qualitative data were able to identify the strengths of this program as perceived by Indigenous families and case managers, including the practical and socio-emotional support offered to whole families, using a strengths-based, life-first approach. In the context of broader education and employment disadvantages experienced by Indigenous Australians, these results are significant and illustrate key lessons which can inform future policy and service delivery initiatives aiming to close the gap.

How to Cite: Brown, L., Osborne, K., Walker, R., Moskos, M., Isherwood, L., Patel, K., Baum, F. and King, D., 2017. The Benefits of a Life-first employment program for Indigenous Australian families: Implications for ‘Closing the Gap’. Journal of Social Inclusion, 8(1), pp.78–95. DOI: http://doi.org/10.36251/josi.118
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Published on 07 Sep 2017.
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