Use of mainstream services and outcomes achieved for people with disability

‘Use of mainstream services and outcomes achieved for people with disability’ is Chapter 5 in the Australia’s welfare 2023: data insights.

This page provides a high-level overview of the key messages presented in Chapter 5.

Download the full article: Chapter 5 [PDF 695 kB]

Download the full report: Australia’s welfare 2023: data insights [PDF 11.1 MB].

Like all Australians, throughout the course of their lives, people with disability use many mainstream services – namely, those services that the government provides for the entire population, not just for people with disability. 

However, historically, there has been little available data on the use of these services by people with disability. This has limited the available information about the patterns of service use and outcomes for people with disability.

Recent data linkage work has begun to deal with these information gaps. This chapter draws on analysis and results from the National Disability Data Asset Pilot phase, which used data that describe the use of mainstream services and outcomes achieved for people with disability.  

It presents results from 4 of the Pilot phase studies, which focused on the following age groups and service systems:  

  • Early childhood
  • Secondary education outcomes
  • Contact with the justice system
  • Homelessness and housing supports.

What is in this chapter?

Early childhood

A child’s early years are a critical period, having a tremendous impact on learning and development in later life.

Understanding the services children use, and their impact, can help both community and governments provide services that better enable children to reach their potential. However, understanding how disability and developmental vulnerabilities progress over childhood and the interaction with the variety of disability supports and mainstream services accessed over time can be challenging. 

This chapter describes the Early Childhood Pilot study which explored these interactions for children in New South Wales, using services such as the education system and specialised disability supports, as well as interactions with the child protection system. 

Secondary education outcomes

Available evidence indicates that levels of educational attainment are lower for people with disability than for people without disability. However, there is less information available on the challenges faced by people with disability during education and the impact this has on post-school outcomes.

This chapter describes the Education to Employment Pilot study which examined data for nearly 190,000 South Australian students who enrolled in year 10 in a government school at any time between 2005 and 2019.

The study examines the effect that disability may have had on a student’s education to employment pathway including NAPLAN participation or results, their secondary school completion, and further educational and employment outcomes.

Contact with the justice system

Whether people with disability in the justice system are offenders or victims, it is important that they are provided with equal access to justice and, where needed, receive appropriate services and other supports. 

The Justice Pilot study aimed to enhance understanding of these issues by bringing together information on disability service use and data on contact with the justice system. 

This chapter presents some of the study’s findings on the experiences of people with disability in New South Wales who have been victims of crime, and people aged 10–17 with disability who committed offences. It also discusses:

  • diversions 
  • dismissals under the NSW Mental Health Act 
  • influence of child protection and early use of disability supports.

Homelessness and housing supports

This chapter reports on the Outcomes Reporting Pilot study which: 

  • evaluated the extent to which data from the National Disability Data Asset could be used to derive a comprehensive disability indicator, and
  • explored the circumstances of people with disability who have used public housing and specialist homelessness services.

Where do I go for more information?