New project begins for people from refugee backgrounds living with disabilities

New project begins for people from refugee backgrounds living with disabilities

22 June 2018

An exciting new project entitled Resettling in Victoriaadvice from people from refugee backgrounds living with disabilities  has recently commenced at Foundation House.

The project is a key piece of work to build the capacity of health, settlement and disability services to provide accessible and appropriate services that meet the needs of people from refugee backgrounds who are living with a disability.

The welcome introduction in 2012 of a waiver of visa health requirements for humanitarian visa holders has created pathways for people from refugee backgrounds living with a disability to resettle in Australia.

Access to appropriate services and supports can be complex for people living with a disability and these challenges are compounded for newly arrived people from refugee backgrounds who may:

  • Arrive with undiagnosed, poorly managed or not formally diagnosed conditions, which may or may not be familiar to Australian practitioners;
  • Be an adult presenting with a condition that is typically treated in childhood; and/or
  • Arrive without necessary aids and equipment (for example, a wheelchair or walking aids).

These challenges are in addition to the broader settlement challenges facing newly arrived people from refugee backgrounds, including the impact of torture or other traumatic events.

The project is timely given not only the increased numbers of people from refugee backgrounds arriving with disabilities, but also significant changes in service arrangements with the progressive roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the suite of aged care reforms that has accompanied the introduction of My Aged Care (such as changes to home support, including Home Care Packages and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme).

The project aims to:

  • Better understand and document the experiences and service access issues for people from refugee backgrounds living with a disability.
  • Build the capacity of community advisors from refugee backgrounds who are living with a disability and/or their family or carers to advocate for access to appropriate services.
  • Build the capacity of health, settlement and disability services to provide accessible and appropriate services that meet the needs of people from refugee backgrounds who are living with a disability.

A community capacity building approach will be used to facilitate dialogue between people from refugee backgrounds with disabilities and relevant service providers, with the aim of developing joint understandings of the needs, priorities, barriers and enablers to service access for people from refugee backgrounds living with a disability. The project is informed by the Foundation House Community Capacity Building Framework and an internal project steering group will provide both strategic and practical advice for the duration of the project.

The project will take a place-based approach in northern Melbourne, engaging local community members as an advisory group and facilitating dialogue with service providers identified by the group.

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Queries

For further information, please contact:

Samantha Furneaux

Sector Development & Policy Advisor

Victorian Refugee Health Network

T: (03) 9389 8915

E:

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