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Angela

Angela O'Connor

Year of Award: 2016 Award State: Western Australia Social Welfare > Drugs, Alcohol And Substances
The Churchill Fellows' Association of Western Australia Churchill Fellowship to establish the first 'Sheway' program for pregnant women with alcohol and other drug use - Canada
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Lessons Learned and Conclusions

I learned many lessons at the various services I visited during my Fellowship. The following are the main ones: 

  • Collaborative, cross sector partnerships are the key to success when providing care, and services for families with complex needs. 
  • Multidisciplinary health, housing and primary health with a suite of services including child care can be achieved and can be long term and cost effective. 
  • The evaluations of services are essential and researchers and clinicians can collaborate to provide data which reflects service provision for women and families. This is essential in securing funding for ongoing services. 
  • Non-judgemental, woman centred, trauma informed approach was evidenced by every staff member in all services I visited. 
  • Relationship-building between staff and community partners is fundamental to achieving outcomes for pregnant women with AOD use. 
  • Providing women with opportunities to develop positive social connections for themselves and their children leads to new-found hope, self-confidence and mental and physical wellness. The outcome more women were able to keep their children in their care. 
  • All services provided in one centre was the key to success as it reduced the stress on women to make multiple appointments across town. 
  • Social Return on Investment Model is one lesson that can be used to show how services can reduce overall costs by tackling complex issues using a different lens. 
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