Youth programs in remote Central Australian Aboriginal communities


Aboriginal young people are fundamental to the continued vitality of Aboriginal identity, but often experience poor health, boredom, and inconsistent care from family members. To address such problems, regular ongoing sport and recreation or youth programs are conducted in a number of remote Central Australian Aboriginal communities. This study was undertaken in a partnership between the Centre for Remote Health and the Central Australian Youth Link-Up Service to explore the enablers and barriers of youth programs in remote Central Australian Indigenous communities. The study involved interviews with stakeholders such as community members (including young people), youth workers and community service providers (teachers, store owners, police and health workers). Participants were drawn from one community in each of the three Central Australian Shires (Barkly, Central Desert and MacDonnell). Results provide an understanding of how various stakeholders define a youth program and whether the programs are perceived to be effective and appropriate. Sport and recreation or youth programs are conducted in a number of remote Central Australian Indigenous communities. This pilot study reflects the importance of youth development programs in the Central Australian region to address a variety of health and social issues among Aboriginal youth, while also recognising the core role that sport and recreation activities play. Framing programs as ‘youth-centred and context-specific’ may be a more helpful way of defining best practice approaches. Based on the findings of this study, several recommendations are proposed. Foremost is the need for regular and ongoing youth programs. Service development effort is required in the area of communication and collaboration. Workers should have access to training and support in implementing collaborative approaches in program delivery. Remuneration of workers needs to reflect the increasingly high skill levels required of youth program staff in remote communities. Programs require adequate resources to meet the needs of young people in remote communities. Programs need to be regarded as essential services in their own right, and ideally involve a ‘whole of community’ approach. (Executive summary, edited)

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÷ Centre for Remote Health and the Central Australian Youth Link Up service 2013 This work is copyright. Its reproduction is subject to the Copyright Act 1968. The copyright owners encourage reproduction for study or training purposes subject to acknowledgment of the source and no commercial usage or sale. Reproduction for purposes other than those indicated above requires written permission of the Centre for Remote Health. Enquiries or comments about this publication may be directed to: Centre for Remote Health, a joint Centre of Flinders University and Charles Darwin University a partner in the Centre of Research Excellence in Rural and Remote Primary Health Care.