Yuwaya Ngarra-li has a particular focus on increasing the understanding and strategic use of quantitative data to inform our planning and evaluation and progress towards Yuwaya Ngarra-li’s long-term aims. The Dharriwaa Elders Group hold grave concerns about the risk of young people in the community ending up in the justice system rather than in education and employment. Access to linked data is an important part of building a holistic evidence base to help to provide greater understanding of how people interact with different services over time and how this affects them. The findings can inform planning and advocacy to help ensure that young people get access to the services and support they need.
In 2021 Virginia Robinson, Secretary of the DEG, led the development of research protocols to guide the data linkage study and to ensure that it adheres to the core principles of the partnership between the DEG and UNSW at all stages of the research. This year, Yuwaya Ngarra-li has identified relevant datasets relating to young people from Walgett, spanning health, housing, child protection, education and justice sectors, which will be linked and deidentified by the Centre for Health Record Linkage (CHeReL). The study, supported by the DEG and the Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service, has been approved by the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council and we are now working with the CHeReL to finalise the details of the data requests and obtain relevant approvals from data custodians.
The analysis will take place in 2023 and will enhance the community’s understanding of and inform locally-led response to the complex relationships between different experiences and outcomes for Aboriginal children and young people in Walgett and what works to help children and young people to thrive. The findings can inform planning and advocacy to help ensure that Aboriginal young people get access to the services and support they need. Analysis of linked data can also help us to evaluate how changes in services influence changes in outcomes, directly and indirectly. For example, have changes in police use of diversions since Yuwaya Ngarra-li commenced work on this issue in 2018 changed criminal justice outcomes, and how does this impact on education and health outcomes for young people.