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CYATS: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led early intervention program

Congress’ Child & Youth Assessment and Therapeutic Service (CYATS) is a specialist service that offers the Mparntwe (Alice Springs) Aboriginal community the opportunity to seek formal diagnostic assessment for children who are suspected of having a neurodevelopmental delay or disorder, and offers speech pathology and occupational therapy intervention. 

The service is one of a number of innovative child health and development programs within Congress and, as such, is widely trusted and easily accessed by Aboriginal families and children of Alice Springs and surrounding communities. CYATS (pronouced “see-yats”) has assisted Aboriginal families not only to receive early detection of and intervention for their child’s neurodevelopmental condition, but also to enter a network of support services across health, education, social and family supports.


Thanks to recent funding from the Federal Government responding to established community need, the service is undergoing significant expansion, so that both town-based and remote-based children and families can access the service. 


Opportunities for clinicians and other roles are available now.

Sign on and retention bonuses now available for Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists and Neuropsychologists. 

$10k on commencement, $10k retention payment at 12 months service and an additional $10k for a further 12 months of service (A total of $30,000 for 24 months of service). Conditions apply. 

Zoe's Story

“Congress is such a supportive environment, always being surrounded by such supportive staff. So it’s meant that I have never even come close to sinking… like I’ve just been able to swim and I feel like I’m building confidence each year as a clinician, and I just wouldn’t have got that level of experience in any other role…. Yeah, it’s just made my career essentially.”

Listen to Zoe’s story.


The approach

The CYATS approach to assessment is comprehensive and multi-disciplinary relying on the expertise of professionals from numerous allied health and medical disciplines including neuropsychology, speech pathology, occupational therapy and paediatric medicine.

Best Practice

The four health disciplines included in the CYATS model are supported by leading Australian FASD researchers as the ideal for a multi-disciplinary team assessing FASD, in the ‘Australian Guide to Diagnosis of FASD 2016’ (updated February 2020).

Multidisciplinary teams

The Australian Government's ‘National FASD Strategic Action Plan 2018-2028’ and the Northern Territory’s Department of Health ‘Addressing FASD in the Northern Territory 2018-2024’ support the establishment of multidisciplinary teams for the purpose of diagnosis and support for people with FASD.

Painting the picture

Also noteworthy is that CYATS FASD data (de-identified) is being provided to the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit (APSU) to contribute to the national prevalence data for FASD.

“It is such a privilege to work with young people with a diverse range of abilities, to be witness to their unravelling and to support them towards the potentials they and their families hope for them. To layer that I also feel deeply privileged to work alongside First Nations people, especially through an Aboriginal led organisation that offers wraparound support and prioritises cultural safety and relationship building.”

Jasmin Boyers, Occupational Therapist”

Ned's Story

“The team provides a safe, supportive and most of all, fun environment to work within, and working within Congress as a wider organisation has allowed me to make lasting friendships with people from all walks of life. I’ve learnt from many incredible First Nations’ friends, clients and colleagues about their  perspectives on culture, connections in the community, Alice Springs history… and of course footy!”

Listen to Ned’s story

Hannah's Story

Hannah followed her instincts all the way to Mparntwe Alice Springs to work in the CYATS team, complete with partner and baby.  

She and her partner quickly learned how good and supportive a small community can be, and after having baby number two, are now raising their family here. 

Listen to Hannah’s story.

Gayle's Story

“The work that we do at CYATS makes a difference in the lives of Aboriginal children in this region.
Understanding a child’s neurodiversity and why they might struggle with some aspects of their life, and why they might have strengths in other areas, allows for the supports to be put in place both in their family, in the broader community and at school.”

Listen to Gayle’s story.

Current Opportunities


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Living in Mparntwe (Alice Springs)

Work-Life Balance Redefined. Say goodbye to long commutes and hello to a lifestyle where the commute is measured in minutes, not hours. Embrace a perfect work-life balance as you immerse yourself in a community where people value connection and a slower pace of life.

Unique Cultural Experiences. Mparntwe is home to a rich tapestry of Aboriginal cultures, art, and history. Engage with the local people, explore ancient landscapes, and be a part of a community that celebrates diversity and inclusivity.

Stunning Natural Beauty. Surround yourself with the breathtaking landscapes of the Red Centre. From the iconic Uluru to the spectacular Tjoritja (MacDonnell Ranges), Mparntwe is a gateway to some of Australia’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders.

Community Spirit. Experience the warmth of a close-knit community that supports and welcomes newcomers. Whether you’re attending local events, enjoying the thriving arts scene, or participating in community initiatives, you’ll quickly feel at home in Mparntwe (Alice Springs).

“Moving to a new town can be daunting. But the CYATS team has been a support and a second family for me since I first joined the team. It is a privilege to live in this incredible town and get to experience the beauty, community spirit and culture of Mparntwe.”

Amelia Paterson, Paediatric Clinical Neuropsychologist

Working for Congress

For 50 years, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (Congress) has provided support and advocacy for Aboriginal people in the struggle for justice and equity.

Since that time, Congress has expanded to become the largest Aboriginal community-controlled health organisation in the Northern Territory, providing a comprehensive, holistic and culturally-appropriate primary health care service to Aboriginal people living in and nearby Alice Springs, including nearby remote communities; Amoonguna, Ntaria (and Wallace Rockhole), Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa), Utju (Areyonga), Imanpa, Yulara and Mutitjulu.

Today, we are one of the most experienced Aboriginal primary health care services in the country, a strong political advocate of closing the gap on Aboriginal health disadvantage and a national leader in improving health outcomes for all Aboriginal people.

“I love working for an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service because the clients that we work with and for are at the forefront of everything we do. There’s also greater flexibility around how we work, compared to other workplaces. There is a level of trust and mutual respect within this model of healthcare that allows for true and meaningful connection to grow between clinicians and clients. With support from team members within CYATS, as well as other divisions within Congress, a lot of the clients that I work with are genuinely able to get their needs met, and over time take greater ownership of their health care and education. Through this, I have witnessed huge changes in my client’s and their family’s lives…”

Matilda Byrne, Paediatric Speech Pathologist

Sign on and retention bonuses now available for Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists and Neuropsychologists. 

$10k on commencement, $10k retention payment at 12 months service and an additional $10k for a further 12 months of service (A total of $30,000 for 24 months of service). Conditions apply.

Gap Clinic is no longer opening on Sundays or Public Holidays

The Mparntwe Urgent Care Clinic is open every day for any person with an urgent but not life-threatening illness and injury. Walk ins only.

 Visit the UCC website for more information.

In an emergency, always call 000.