Wellbeing & Advocacy Program
The Oasis Townsville Wellbeing & Advocacy Program aims to assist veterans and their families establish a plan for successful integration into the Townsville community and advocates will support clients by appropriate representation to supporting organisations.
Our Wellbeing & Advocacy Program currently centres on the DVA Advocacy Training and Development Program (ATDP) [ext]. At the top of our Program, we have Case Managers who conduct triage to establish urgency and complexity of each case and then assign suitable cases to Case Navigators. These Case Navigators will make the initial contact with clients and ensure we have all the information necessary to begin the research and allocate that research to a Wellbeing Advocate and/or a Compensation Advocate as needed.
As we develop we will place increasing emphasis and importance on a Case Navigator who's job will be to work with clients to establish a plan based on the 10 Human Needs. And in time, we will professionalise the management of the Wellbeing & Advocacy Program with a suitably qualified Wellbeing & Advocacy Program Manager who will lead the Program in developing policies, procedures and guidance; and professional development.
Case Navigators will increasingly become the centrepiece of the Wellbeing Program, being responsible for coordinating the development of a plan across all of the 10 Human Needs. Our Compensation Advocates are part of the Wellbeing Program and are responsible for - Appropriate compensation (8th of the 10 Human Needs). Wellbeing Advocates will be responsible for coordinating referrals to services for all of the other Human Needs, including to our own Career Transition and Mentoring Program.
We recognise the biggest need is to assist those transitioning out of the ADF now. Although there is a comprehensive process for transition administered by Defence which will help you and your family, we are also here to help. We can advocate for you in dealing with the Defence Transition Centres or the Defence Force Transition Program. We also recognise that these Defence programs will remain involved in your transition for up to two years, while we intend to be in Townsville forever! We've compiled a guide for those transitioning here.
While serving our clients, we are also engaged in the training necessary to maintain professional qualifications and service, to bring on new advocates and train them, and to prepare compensation advocates for higher levels in the ATDP.
We are building a comprehensive knowledge base of what products and services are available in Townsville to which our advocates can refer members of Townsville's Ex-ADF Community. This Service Directory will eventually allow us to ensure we we get the best possible outcome from the support resources available in Townsville.
If you would like to discuss the prospect of becoming an advocate with our case managers / senior advocates, please read this page on our website.
We'll help all of the ex-ADF community, whether you are still serving and just thinking about getting out, through to a veteran who has been out for many years.
We take a holistic view of each individual and refer individuals and families to our internal programs or those organisations in Townsville that we have learnt are best at helping our community. If appropriate compensation is required, a compensation advocate, who is also part of the Wellbeing Program will manage that aspect of the case.
We are developing a database (Service Directory) of Townsville organisations to which we can refer clients for specific support, including everything from GPs and specialists to housing experts and for help with legals or accounting. Our advocates have access to this and will use it during their research and interview to find the right services.
One of the key focuses for everyone involved is the process of transitioning from the ADF back into the civilian world and our communities. As soon as you contemplate for the first time that you might make the transition out of the ADF, we'd like to see you. And if you haven't reached that point yet, at least have a look at these references which will help with the decision and preparation.
We've also developed a listing of many of the ESOs in Australia. It's not got them all but from what we've found online, it's one of the best listings available.
One of the 10 Human Needs is 'appropriate compensation'. This aspect is managed inside the Wellbeing Program for the simplicity of keeping like aspects together.
If you need advice to complete a DVA form, or you don’t know where to start, our trained volunteer compensation advocates can help. We will establish the details of your claim, do much of the behind-the-scenes research, and help you complete and lodge the necessary paperwork. While your claim is being determined, our advocates will keep in touch with you, providing updates and reassurance.
An issue for DVA and our community is the likelihood of a reduction in the numbers of compensation advocates, when advocates trained under the system prior to the introduction of ATDP are no longer covered by VITA insurance [doc] to practice. There are specific activities that require ATDP accreditation [doc] and we will have to manage this aspect carefully. This is an area we are particularly concerned about. The Townsville Community of Practice has been raised and will lead the campaign to improve services for the ex-ADF community in Townsville.
A Reality Check!
If you think you'd like our support for a wellbeing navigator / compensation advocate there are a few expectations we'd like to manage so you understand the service we provide:
All of our advocates are volunteers.
Many of our advocates are in training under the relatively new Advocacy Training Development Program which is a competency based system for Wellbeing and Compensation Advocates. There are rules around what each level of advocate can do. We will manage that aspect within our Wellbeing Program.
All of our advocates have personal lives and sometimes that gets in the way of dealing with cases as quickly as some might expect. We encourage advocates to ensure they do not take on too much workload to the extent they may burn out. We consider it far better to do a good job and enjoy helping fellow veterans than to overdo it and need to take an extended break, which causes additional stress in the Wellbeing Program.
As a consequence of the above, our policy is not to assign an advocate to a case, instead we assign a lead advocate. That means the case will be professionally documented in our Case Management Database (called ChilliDB) and clients may find they see a different advocate occasionally. Rest assured there will be a high level of continuity across all cases. All advocates are supervised by case managers.