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Michelle McIntyre, Clare Townsend, Jennifer Cullen
Youth homelessness has been identified as a significant problem in Australia, which exposes young people to social exclusion and considerable disadvantage (MacKenzie, Flatau, Steen,
& Thielking, 2016).
For young people, homelessness increases risks for physical and mental health problems, and negative social outcomes in adulthood including continued homelessnesss, unemployment, and poverty.
These problems are further exacerbated for young people with disabilities, particularly amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.
Early intervention is desirable, but a lack of research to guide service provision in relation to the unique needs of Indigenous young people who are homeless has been noted
The Guddi Partnership offers a model of community and service engagement and capacity building that is underpinned and led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community values
Responding to the needs of homeless Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people with complex disability requires a holistic response which recognises the unique
characteristics of this group, and enhances connectedness and understandings between marginalised Indigenous young people and their communities.
The key components of the Guddi for Young People which address this need are:
– utilisation of culturally sensitive engagement processes;
– development of a culturally informed and appropriate screening
– protocol to identify NCD and assess physical, mental, and social health domains; and
– building service and community capacity to better understand and respond to this cohort.
The Guddi Protocol shows promise as a culturally safe and appropriate method to identify complex disability in Murri Court participants, and contributes to more effective sentencing responses, which could ultimately reduce recidivism and prison overcrowding.