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Participating in meaningful work is crucial for our wellbeing.

Welcome to the FASD Justice Employment Resource,
for employment agencies, employers and those working in the justice system

Patches acknowledges and pays respect to the past and present Traditional Owners and Elders of this land, recognising the significant importance of their cultural heritage, values and beliefs and how these contribute to the positive health and wellbeing of the whole community.​

Everyone deserves a high quality of life.

This includes having access to housing, healthcare, social and community support and meaningful employment.

Meaningful employment is important for our overall wellbeing.

It improves our social connection, sense of belonging and self-esteem. It markedly improves the welfare of families and communities.

However, people with disabilities remain at a disadvantage when seeking employment.

Only about half of Australians with disability are currently participating in the workforce.

People with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) are at particular risk of underemployment.

The underemployment of people with FASD may be due to:

About this Resource

Welcome to the FASD Justice Employment Resource

This Resource is designed to support people with FASD, who have had contact with the justice system, to obtain and maintain meaningful employment. This Resource is for employment agencies, employers and those working in the justice system.

The FASD Justice Employment Resource is designed to:

The FASD Justice Employment Resource adopts a FASD-informed approach which acknowledges that the challenges associated with FASD, can make it difficult for the individual to always meet workplace expectations.

Well-thought through and individually tailored modifications in the workplace are key to supporting people in gaining and maintaining meaningful employment. We believe that rather than expecting people with FASD to change, workplaces should be adapted to better meet their needs.

A FASD-informed approach comprises of the following key elements:

Having an awareness of FASD

Having an awareness of FASD refers to:

  • Appreciating the wide range of skills and challenges that people with FASD have.
  • Recognising that there are numerous ways in which their well-being and needs can be supported. 
  • Appreciating that due to the effects of FASD on the brain, it is more useful to consider the person’s developmental age rather than their chronological age, when trying to understand their current functioning, and
  • Considering the utility of disclosing having a FASD diagnosis or having had an assessment during the process of finding employment.

Adopting a strengths-based approach

A strengths-based approach refers to:  

  • Highlighting and emphasising the individual’s unique strengths and talents.
  • Eliminating systemic barriers that penalise people for their challenges. 
  • Empowering people with FASD to identify their own strengths and encouraging the reframing of behaviours in more positive terms, and
  • Acknowledging the individual’s resiliency to have gotten to where they currently are.   

Making person-centered accommodations

Making person-centered accommodations refers to: 

  • Recognising the individual’s unique needs and skills and the diversity of FASD presentations, and 
  • Making appropriate accommodations and modifications to programs such as employment-related programs.

About Patches

Patches was started in Western Australia by paediatrician Dr. James Fitzpatrick with a focus on ensuring that everyone has access to quality developmental, disability and early intervention services. 

With the Head Office in Perth, Western Australia, Patches has offices throughout regional Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Additional Patches sites will be opening in Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania, throughout 2022.

Dr James Fitzpatrick discusses the work of Patches and how Patches is looking to change lives through the FASD Justice Employment Project.  

Patches and the University of Western Australia, received a Commonwealth Government grant to develop evidence-based resources to improve employment outcomes for people with FASD in the justice system.

The FASD Justice Employment Project also allows for the development of employment pathways for people as they transition out of the justice system. 

Artwork on this page by Mick Adams

Learn more

Mick Adams is a descendent of the Yadhiagana/Wuthathi peoples of Cape York Peninsula in Queensland (on his father’s side) having traditional family ties with the Gurindji people of Central Western Northern Territory (on his mother’s side) and extended family relationship with the people of the Torres Straits, Warlpiri (Yuendumu), and East Arnhem Land (Gurrumaru) communities. 

His inspiration has been motivated by his many years of living, working and extended and social relationship with both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

Mick’s paintings have been sold around the world. The International Network Indigenous Health Knowledge and Development (INIHKD) uses Mick’s painting on their logo and promotion material (www.inihkd.org).