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People with Complex Needs

Week Four - 25th February to 1st March 2013


Skip Navigation LinksWA State Election 2013 Election Priorities People with Complex Needs

It is common in the community for a person to seek support from a service for one issue they are having in their life, but in reality they have many highly complex and interrelated needs that must all be addressed to achieve a positive and sustainable outcome. These clients often face multiple barriers to meaningful support that can result in a lack of progress despite their contact with multiple services and programs. 

Community service providers are often frustrated by their inability to turn around the lives of disadvantaged clients as a result of narrow service parameters, a lack of coordination or referral capacity, or simply a lack of places in critical support programs.

The community sector is also concerned by the prevalence of mental health and drug and alcohol issues in clients across service areas, as clients with complex needs complicate the provision of other support services and place demands on service staff not trained or resourced to address all the issues.

To this end we are calling for innovative, integrated and flexible service responses reflecting collaboration across government and community services that provide assistance and address gaps in services for people with complex needs.

We need to encourage and resource cross-sectoral collaboration to develop innovative service responses that assist people with complex needs. Areas of concentrated and intergenerational disadvantage are best addressed through local strengths-based wrap-around programs. Successful service provision emphasises social inclusion, local community responses and cultural appropriateness. Recognition of the need for flexibility is central to the success of such service responses, as are improvements in integration and collaboration between the government and community sectors, as well as between government agencies. 

There are several vulnerable groups of people who would benefit from integrated services which
are able to address complex needs, including: prisoners on release and people in contact with the justice system; children and families with intergenerational disadvantage and complex needs; people with mental illnesses and/or people with alcohol/drug problems; people with complex needs from Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (including recent humanitarian migrants escaping trauma).

There are potentially many different ways to respond to these challenges, and the Council supports efforts to bring together stakeholders to co-design innovative responses

Strategies include:
• Capacity building for integrated care-coordination services;
• Regional outreach services for people with complex mental health and co-morbidity needs;
• Mental health & wrap-around services for young people;
• Programs addressing mental illness and drug & alcohol problems linked to criminal behaviour;
• Improved access to alcohol and other drug programs;
• Expansion of the existing Drug Court to incorporate an alcohol-related diversion program; and
• Support for strengths-based diversion programs for juvenile offenders (particularly Aboriginal offenders).


Printed and Authorised by Irina Cattalini. 2 Delhi Street, West Perth. WA 6005. 

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