16th Reintegration Puzzle Conference

Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre
1-3 June 2022

Changing Seasons,
Changing Lives

Reintegration – outreach to remote desert communities: Ngaanyatjarra and Tjuntjuntjara Lands

Clients who are serving prison sentences face specific long term and structural challenges post release. These challenges may be greater for Aboriginal men and women who reside in remote communities. During incarceration, the distance from family and friends can be difficult and travel, especially for children to visit parents, may be virtually impossible given the distance from communities to the Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison, in some cases up to 11 hours of driving. Upon release, individuals may not be able to get adequate access to supportive services, and this may have a cumulative effect on the cultural, economic and family functioning in communities. In preparing Reintegration clients for transitioning back into the community, the Centrecare team combines a culturally appropriate, health promoting and community development approach in these remote areas, working with families, and obtaining permissions to ensure safety for the client, and the community. Travel across vast landscapes on gravel roads in a dry, arid environment together with seasonal changes that can abruptly challenge the most experienced drivers, are routine for the Reintegration Team on their regular trips to the Ngaanyatjarra Lands and less frequently, the Tjuntjuntjara Lands. These outreach visits are opportunities to talk to Elders and local agencies, to prepare families for post release of their clients, and to follow up with those successfully reintegrated back into their families and communities. The presentation provides insight into these visits, where a culturally appropriate model of service delivery is essential to ensure successful, respectful and ongoing engagement with families.

Presenters

Darren Burns
Centrecare Goldfields

Leanne Erikson
Program Manager
, Centrecare Goldfields

Leanne Eriksen is a Yamatji woman from the Gascoyne-Murchison region. She spent her early years in the outback town of Cue, later relocating with her family to the Wheatbelt town of Merredin where she commenced her schooling. After graduating high school, Leanne then moved to Bunbury to commence a Bachelor of Arts Education. Leanne graduated from Edith Cowan University in 1996 and returned home to Merredin where she worked as a relief teacher for a year. Between 1997 and 2000, Leanne lived in New Zealand on the South Island, Central Otago where she coordinated an afterschool care program and was a residential care worker at the Roxburgh Children’s Health Camp. In 2000 Leanne returned to Australia, residing in the Goldfield’s town of Kalgoorlie. She soon took on the role of an Early Year’s Coordinator with the Best Start Program, specifically for Aboriginal children and families. This work saw Leanne providing support to communities Goldfield’s wide, through playgroups, family groups and community work. When the program funding ceased in 2016, Leanne spent twelve months as a contract manager for the former Prime Minister and Cabinet, managing contracts including Tjuma Pulka Indigenous Radio Station, Bega Garnbirringu Health Service Social Wellbeing Program and the IAS Footprints to Stronger Families Program. In 2018 Leanne commenced work at Centrecare, as Team Leader for the Reintegration and Families First Programs. In October 2018, Leanne stepped into the role of Program Manager and now manages Reintegration, Financial Counselling and the Goldfield’s Youth Service programs.

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