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Focus on outcomes for Metro Assist clients and staff

The DEX, or data exchange, is an Australian Government reporting framework designed to create stronger community outcomes. A number of targeted earlier intervention providers recently took part in a trial. We spoke to Michelle Lazaris of Metro Assist who was surprised at how the DEX helped them to see their client’s outcomes so soon. When asylum seeker Long  arrived in Australia 18 months ago with her husband and three small children, her dream was to find a good job. What she didn’t expect was that getting her youngest daughter into childcare would be such an expensive barrier. Long turned to Metro Assist for help.

It just so happened that as Long started her journey with Metro Assist, they were undertaking a trial with the Data Exchange as part of the TEI reform. Metro Assist Family Services Manager, Michelle Lazaris, says using the DEX allowed them to take clients like Long along on the journey “to see themselves and see the growth that comes with that.”

Long took part in a 12-week program whereby she was paired up with a caseworker who helped her to find the most affordable rates for childcare in her local centres. She ended up getting her daughter into childcare two days a week which enabled her to secure a part time job.

What was beneficial about using the DEX at the same time, says Michelle, is that they were able to demonstrate the client outcomes.

While collecting this data allowed them to keep the client’s needs front and centre, using the system also had added benefits for staff. “It was a time for staff to grow,” says Michelle. Taking a step back and reflecting on the outcomes of their work, she says, is not something caseworkers often get to do. “We were able to make sure what we’re collecting is meaningful for client outcomes and not just collecting for sake of collecting.”

Perhaps the best testament of all though, says Michelle, was the beautiful paintings Long’s children did showing how happy the family were. “It just makes you realise that something that seems quite small like securing childcare and getting a good job, is a really significant achievement for the client. The DEX allowed us to demonstrate that significance.”

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Last updated: 19 Dec 2018