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Enhancing AOD Programs Accessibility: Australia-wide Workforce Perspectives (Poster 1 of 2)

Poster Presentation, NADA Conference June, 2016

This poster (Poster #1) canvases how agencies promote themselves and how they identify CALD clients attending programs.

Introduction

There are various actions that alcohol and other drug (AOD) programs can take to enhance accessibility for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD). However to-date little research has explored the extent to which these are applied. Similarly, funding agreements and accreditation criteria for drug and alcohol agencies require slim evidence of practices to address the range of known barriers to service access for CALD communities, including women, LGBTI people, refugees, and survivors of torture and trauma. This exploratory study aimed to inform current standards and clarify areas for improvement across AOD programs nationally.

Methods

A voluntary, anonymous online survey was completed by staff at agencies that provide one or more drug and alcohol programs.

Results

Two hundred and twenty-six responses were included in the analysis. The majority of responses came from NSW (29%) and Victoria (37%). One third of respondents reported that less than 5% of clients attended their agency during the previous 12 months came from CALD backgrounds. Half of all respondents expressed some concern about their agency’s approaches to working with CALD clients. Where agencies collected data about clients’ cultures, languages or migration histories, this data was used to inform client needs assessment (69%), to identify language support needs (52%) and to identify opportunities to work with other agencies (33%). Respondents from agencies with approximately 5% or fewer clients from CALD backgrounds attending wereless likely to have undertaken any CALD-focused initiatives compared with respondents whose agencies saw more CALD clients (54.5% vs. 81.4% p=0.001). Half of respondents reported service promotion strategies used by their agencies (n=113). The most common were written information (61%), interagency meetings (55%) and information sessions (51%); whereas audio-visual promotion and promotion to CALD community associations or multicultural organisations was less common (<25%). Approximately half of respondents had attended any training on working with CALD clients while in their current role.

Discussion

Several key findings in this study provide current evidence of practices that are recommended in the National AOD Workforce Development Strategy 2015-2018, as well as other State and Federal guidelines. As such the survey findings offer a platform for future work to address the disproportionately low access to ADO programs by CALD communities in Australia.

You can access the second poster in the series here

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