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Breaking the cycle of poverty - service integration facilitates employment, education and social participation outcomes for long term unemployed families

Volume 14, 8 December 2014
Publisher: Igitur publishing
Cite this as: Int J Integr Care 2014; WCIC Conf Suppl; URN:NBN:NL:UI:10-1-116691
Conference Abstract
Breaking the cycle of poverty - service integration facilitates employment,
education and social participation outcomes for long term unemployed
John Mendoza, ConNetica Pty.Ltd., Australia
Marion Wands, ConNetica Pty.Ltd., Australia
Correspondence to: Lydia Patricia Najlepszy, ConNetica Pty.Ltd., Australia, E-mail:
Introduction: This session will outline the critical success factors that underpin improved service
integration which enhanced employment, social participation and education outcomes for long
term unemployed families. These factors are based on the findings from the 2010 2013
evaluation of the Goodna Family Centred Employment Program (FCEP) that was conducted by
ConNetica. This innovative employment program, which was an initiative of the Rudd/Gillard
government, was overseen by the Social Inclusion Board. The program provided services to some
of Australia’s most disadvantaged individuals. The results were outstanding.
Target Audience: The program targeted long term unemployed families who lived in the 4300 or
4301 postcode, were receiving Centrelink payments, had no more than four weeks earnings in the
previous 12 months, had children under the age of 16 years and had voluntarily agreed to
participate in the FCEP.
The complex range of barriers experienced by program participants included mental health,
substance abuse, domestic violence, homelessness, sexual abuse, physical abuse, acute financial
pressures, incarceration, learning difficulties, lack of formal qualifications, social isolation and
transport difficulties. A total of 150 families chose to join the program and almost 230 service
providers were involved in the provision of services to these clients.
Program Overview: Participation was limited to 150 families and engagement in the program was
voluntary. FCEP provided a holistic continuum of support to families (a total of 529 individuals),
predicated on building a relationship with the family, assessing their type and level of need and
supporting them to have these needs met. Two significant aspects of program included varying
levels of engagement and the spectrum of interventions available through local services. FCEP
provided numerous options to families through referral to appropriate services, brokerage and
The Goodna FCEP team was multidisciplinary and included employment case managers, early
childhood expert, case managers, a community and service engagement officer and education
mentor. All team members used a strength based approach to case management and worked
closely with one another to ensure provided services met clients’ goals and were integrated and
complimentary. In addition, training and networking meetings were arranged to strengthen
World Congress on Integrated Care 2014, Sydney, November 23-26, 2014.
International Journal of Integrated Care Volume 14, 8 DecemberURN:NBN:NL:UI:10-1-116691
partnerships and increase cross-sectoral workforce capability in a range of areas relevant to
clients’ needs.
Evaluation Techniques: ConNetica used an action learning approach to the evaluation, which
ensured that the findings throughout the program were continually shared with key stakeholders to
facilitate ongoing improvements. Innovative survey tools were developed and used to assess and
track participants’ stages of change and readiness to seek employment, measures of social
inclusion, satisfaction with the program design and resilience. Survey tools were also developed to
track service providers’ engagement in service collaboration and integration initiatives. Desk top
audits of relevant documents and performance metric along with interviews with clients, service
providers, team members and other key stakeholders were also conducted.
Program Highlights: Partnerships between services were strengthened, clients received more
integrated and holistic services and education targets were exceeded. Individual participants
experienced significant improvements in their resilience and well being and were more confident
and capable to achieve their personal goals in relation to education, employment and social
Many shared that the program had transformed their lives.
poverty; mental illness; long term unemployed; holistic consumer centred focus;
collaboration of services
PowerPoint presentation
World Congress on Integrated Care 2014, Sydney, November 23-26, 2014.
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