Services for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse participants

Participants working together at a table

Australia is one of the most ethnically diverse societies in the world, with more than 25 per cent of Australians born overseas and around 15 per cent born in non-English speaking countries. This highlights the importance of providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services across the aged care and disability services sectors.

Providing services to people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds requires an understanding of the cultural considerations of the individual, their families and carers including:

  • Perceptions and attitudes towards people with disability and older people.
  • Expectation of family providing care, roles of women, and beliefs about health, mental health and disabilities.
  • Beliefs, practices, religions, behaviors, and preferences, which can affect the choice to use formal care services.
  • English language proficiencies, which can affect access to information and services, ability to communicate needs and preferences, and participation in the broader community.

Strategies for businesses delivering services to clients with CALD backgrounds
While there is no ‘one-size-fits-all' approach to working with people from CALD backgrounds, sector leaders have identified strategies for businesses looking to deliver services to people with disability and older Australians from CALD backgrounds. These include:

  • Identifying and understanding the new and emerging communities that may infrequently access services and supports.
  • Establishing organisational policies, processes and structures, and well-entrenched values that create an effective framework to deliver culturally responsive programs and services.
  • Collaborating with existing CALD clients, organisations, community leaders and staff to co-design a CALD service policy.
  • Establishing relationships with key members of CALD communities who can act as cultural brokers to enhance knowledge of available services.
  • Identifying opportunities to work with established CALD organisations to provide CALD clients and their families with community education and awareness raising sessions on NDIS and aged care options.
  • Providing information via preferred channels and formats to suit varying literacy and ability levels.
  • Including a section on an organisation’s website specifically for prospective and existing CALD clients, with links to translation services and contact details for CALD staff champions.
  • Providing clear, well-translated information in the preferred language of the participant and access to interpreters when required.
  • Providing cultural awareness training for staff as well as best practice examples of culturally appropriate service delivery.
  • Developing a whole of organisation strategy to improve cultural competence, responsiveness, inclusivity and access, which includes improving workforce diversity and cultural capability to ensure clients have culturally sensitive supports and services, and the workforce better reflects the communities it serves.

Opportunities to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services in the NDIS
It is expected that around 20 per cent of participants across all regions will be from a CALD background.

Organisations registering as an NDIS provider will have access to the full NDIS market and can deliver services to NDIS participants regardless of how their plan is managed. Please visit the Getting started as an NDIS provider page for more information about registering under the NDIS.

Support resources
Visit the NDIS Demand Map to see projected demand for NDIS services in your area.

The Culturally and Linguistically Diverse NDIS ready toolkit offers a comprehensive guide on organisational planning, capacity building, and engagement.

Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) has developed a guide to help establish and operate community organisations: Starting and Running Your Community Organisation: A Guide.