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Charlotte supports program bolstering employment for people with disabilities in justice system

1 February, 2022

Through the McCusker Centre for Citizenship at UWA, student Charlotte Ford has helped gain traction for a valuable project at Patches Australia that seeks to assist people with disabilities who are in the criminal justice system to gain employment.

Charlotte, who lives in Mahogany Creek is studying a Bachelor of Science in Anatomy and Human Biology with a second major in Criminology at UWA.

Charlotte assisted with the development of a proposal for Patches called PatchWORK, a pre-release program that aims to support people with disabilities such as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) to be prepared for a successful transition back into the community and in particular to obtain employment.

“If implemented, a program such as this would provide participants with an increased capacity and motivation to live functionally independent and productive lives.  This would also serve to benefit participant’s family members, decrease pressure on corrective services employees, and foster more diverse, safe, and inclusive communities,” said Charlotte.

Charlotte was determined to produce a meaningful proposal that was both “well-informed and compassionate”.

“This has been an eye-opening experience in which I have been able to develop a greater understanding of the issues and barriers experienced by people with disabilities interacting with the criminal justice system,” she said.

The proposal that Charlotte developed was well beyond what the Patches team were expecting, and was subsequently endorsed by the Patches leadership staff as a priority focus for 2022.

“The documentation Charlotte completed was to such a high level, something I would expect from someone who has worked within project management for some years,” said internship supervisor and Patches Project Manager, Kirrily Clarke.

“Charlotte is kind, warm hearted and invested in achieving the best outcomes for the target population.  Her work has the potential to change lives,” she said.

Charlotte says she was inspired by the Patches staff, and she is motivated to continue her work in similar projects in the future.

“It is an absolute privilege to work alongside passionate individuals who truly believe in the goals they are working towards,” said Charlotte.