South Coast Ams is a Non-Government (NGO), Not For Profit (NFP) Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO) providing health, wellbeing, and family support services to communities in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven, Far South Coast and Goulburn areas.
Our Child and Family Services team (C&FS) provides holistic, culturally safe, child and family focused services that support and strengthen families. We provide a continuum of care for children, young people and their families including: early intervention, family preservation, out of home care, family connect & support, therapeutic services, psychology, social work and mentor support.
Our Health team focus on prevention, intervention, health education and health promotion. Our holistic approach to health and wellbeing integrates with all our services including: GP consultations and outreach clinics, health assessments and plans, eye and hearing screening, immunisations, health education, geriatric program, podiatry, chronic care support transport and dental services.
Our Wellbeing team deliver a wide range of programs and services to support a balance in physical, social, emotional, cultural and spiritual health. These include: psychology, counselling, case management, Aboriginal child and youth mentoring and counselling, justice support, substance use support, social and emotional wellbeing support, men’s and women’s groups, child and youth wellbeing programs and homework groups.
A thriving community enjoying spiritual, cultural, physical, social and emotional wellbeing, nurtured by strong families, empowered to determine their own futures and benefiting from a deep connection to culture.
To provide effective, holistic, culturally supportive health, wellbeing and family services to our communities, inspiring each individual to nurture and achieve their full potential. By providing quality services and support, building confidence and resilience, improving knowledge and skills and developing stronger relationships, we aim to create positive and lasting outcomes for Aboriginal children, families and communities.
Deliver excellence through quality service provision, collaboration and measuring outcomes.
Be passionate, caring and respectful in everything that we do.
Be a socially responsible, culturally supportive presence in each of our communities.
Be creative and flexible in our responses to community needs, listen and learn so that we can do things better.
Deliver quality evidence-based services with financial integrity to achieve sustainability & measurable outcomes.
Contribute to shared learning through research and partnerships.
Our Accreditation & Achievements
We are a fully accredited agency ensuring high standards and safe quality supports across all our services:
• Children’s Guardian NSW Child Standards
• Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited
• Quality Improvement Council’s Health and Community Services Standards by AAA-NZ
• National Safety and Quality Health Standards
• Te Wana Accreditation
• Aboriginal Organisation or Project of the Year - Local Government Regional NAIDOC Awards 2021
• Registrar Supervisor of the Year (Dr Stephen Henry) - GP Synergy
Early in the 1980’s Jane Ardler and other members of the local Aboriginal Communities were concerned about the lack of cultural understanding of many of the local health service providers. Jane and her colleagues believed that the local health practitioners had little or no understanding of the Aboriginal people in the area and what little they had was based on stereotyped concepts of drug & alcohol related problems. Consequently, they approached Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service who at the time, were running an innovative and effective medical service. They sought advice on setting up a similar health care program for the South Coast.
The South Coast Aboriginal Medical Service commenced operations in 1982 in Nowra, solely through the generosity and support of the Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service and the local Steering Committee. The Organisation was incorporated on 18th January 1983, and with the assistance of Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service the Committee applied for funding to operate and expand the service from various Local, State and Federal Departments.
In 1986, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA later as ATSIC) agreed to fund, in addition to the Doctor (gap after bulkbilling) and Receptionist wages, an Administrator and two Health Workers and all operating costs. The NSW Department of Health under an enhancement program provided funds to employ a Public Health Worker and a specific Drug and Alcohol Worker in 1988 and in 1989 a Health Care Assistant. Sadly in March 1990 Jane Ardler the Administrator passed away.
In June 1990 funding provided by the NSW Department of Health ceased due to service provision concerns. ATSIC also ceased the funding for the fulltime Doctor as they felt the area had enough General Practitioners to meet the needs of the local population. However, the centre continued to operate with a part-time Doctor, 3 Health Workers, an Administrator and some volunteers. In April 1991 ATSIC advised they would cease funding the South Coast Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation for possible duplication and non-compliance to funding regulations. An appeal was lodged but was disallowed. From July 1991 the Staff (without wages) continued to operate the program with the assistance of volunteers.
In July 2002 the SCMSAC was funded to provide health, medical and other relevant services to the Aboriginal community and improve equity of access to mainstream health services.
Today the SCMSAC continues to provide a myriad of Health Services to the Shoalhaven area that includes: General Practice, General/Public Health, Dental, Regional and Local Substance Use, Community Social and Emotional Wellbeing, Permanency Support (Out of Home Care), Children and Family Support and HIV/Sexual Health Services.