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Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency

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Title: Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency


1

Delivery of Culturally Responsive Early
Intervention and Family Support Programs to
Aboriginal Children and Families
Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency
2
Our context of risk - colonised Australia
  • Colonisation is an ongoing reality.
  • Indigenous peoples
  • - subject to the imposed laws and economic and
    political systems begun by the Captain Cooks
    implanting of British sovereignty in 1770 without
    consent or treaty.
  • - subject to a legal, political and economic
    system which ignores culture and enables racism

3
Why We Do The Work We Do
  • The challenge for VACCA today is to turn around
    the following statistics
  • Aboriginal children and young people make up 8.3
    of the total number of current clients in the
    child protection system.
  • The under 18 year old Aboriginal population is
    10.5 times more likely to be involved in the
    child protection system.
  • 5.7 of the under 18 year old population
    recording as Aboriginal is involved in the child
    protection system in comparison to 0.5 of the
    non-Aboriginal population.
  • Aboriginal children are 6 times more likely to be
    removed from their family by Child Protection.

4
Resilience
  • The ability to reframe negative events by
    searching for a perspective that is
    simultaneously truthful and favourable helps
    people maintain a realistically optimistic
    perspective (Ashford, Kreiner and Schneider)

5
Culture Abuse
  • When the culture of a people is ignored,
    denigrated, or attacked it affects
  • the very identity and soul of people
  • their sense of self-esteem,
  • their connectedness to their family and
    community.
  • It is estimated that tens of thousands of
    Indigenous children were removed from their
    families and raised in institutions or
    fostered-out to non-indigenous parents.
  • Cultural abuse remains to this day. Child
    protection intervention in the lives of
    Indigenous community remains disproportionate in
    Australia.

6
Rights and Cultural Respect
  • Enabling self-determination for Aboriginal
    communities.
  • Respect for Aboriginal cultures and embedding
    culture into all aspects of service delivery
    both in organisational structure and practice.
  • Positive and mutually respectful engagement
    between Aboriginal agencies and services and
    mainstream services
  • Holistic and strengths based approach

7
Speaking Up Self-determination
  • self-determining peoples not client communities
    (i.e. as passive recipients of welfare)
  • overseas experience indicates that
    self-determination and embedding culture in
    Indigenous child and family welfare programs and
    services lead to better outcomes.
  • giving communities more control over the future
    of their children and creating services which are
    culturally competent and use culture as treatment
    is not only just it is also effective.

8
Rights based approach
  • Victorian Children, Youth and Families Act is
    premised on principles of self-determination and
    capacity building for Aboriginal and Islander
    communities.
  • To have voice strengthens resilience by
  • encouraging self reliance
  • empowering the disempowered.

9
Embedding Culture as Resilience
  • Culture is central to identity. Culture defines
    who we are, how we think, how we communicate,
    what we value and what is important to us. We
    now know that fostering cultural identity is in
    the best interests of the child.

10
Culturally Embedded professional practice
  • Holistic healing approach
  • Narrative rather than diagnostic assessment and
    planning approach
  • Culture as treatment
  • Family strengthening
  • Culture as resilience creating a culturally
    imbued framework for families
  • Empowerment model participant families become
    active participants in treatment rather than
    passive recipients

11
A FAMILYS JOURNEY THROUGH VACCA FAMILY SUPPORT
  • A Family can refer or be referred in at many
    points in the continuum from playgroup,
    community based intake to Family Restorations
    program
  • All families apart from playgroup families
    undergo an Assessment process during which a
    service plan is developed and recommended
  • The service plan may recommend that the family
    requires and is eligible for one or more of our
    programs.
  • The family is allocated a worker from the program
    which is assessed as being the service option
    that is central to achieving positive change for
    the family.

12
Dhum Djirri Aboriginal Family Decision Making
(AFDM)
  • Family Decisions making is a culturally respected
    meeting involving the child or young person,
    significant others of the child or young persons
    community, Elders, and Community organisation
    staff. The decisions to be made by families in
    regard to protecting a child at risk of harm.
  • The Aboriginal Family Decision Making
  • empowers families and communities to have control
    over addressing their own issues and allows for
    realistic change.
  • working together allows for the effects of change
    to be implemented in ways which are of benefit to
    all involved and
  • enables the maintenance of an Aboriginal
    child/young persons link to community,
    encouraging stronger families and communities.

13
Playgroups
  • Provide activities which promote healthy
    development and enrich the lives of Koorie
    children.
  • Strengthen identity and cultural awareness.
  • Strengthen families by
  • connecting them to Community
  • Strengthening inter-generational links.
  • Providing parenting advice and support and
  • Link children and families to universal services
    where required.

14
Child FIRST and Aboriginal Families
  • The Impact of community based intake has the
    potential of being a beneficial system for
    providing support to vulnerable Aboriginal
    families at an earlier point of intervention
  • It has an equal potential to be of greater
    disadvantage by moving vulnerable Aboriginal
    families through to the Child protection system
    as a result of failure to engage at Intake.

15
Impact of Child FIRST
  • THE IMPACT OF CHILD FIRST ON ABORIGINAL FAMILIES
    WILL BE LARGELY DEPENDENT UPON THE WAY THE CHILD
    FIRST INTAKE SYSTEM ENGAGES AND OFFERS A
    CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE SERVICE TO THOSE FAMILIES.

16
Culturally Responsive Intake
  • Child FIRST intake - Provide a response to
    Aboriginal families that is culturally sensitive
    and competent.
  • Attempt to reduce the anxiety that an Aboriginal
    family may feel in being contacted by a
    Mainstream worker about concerns regarding their
    children
  • Non-Aboriginal workers are supported in making
    assessments and plans that are culturally
    responsive
  • Guidelines in the Strategic Framework for Family
    Services

17
Culturally Responsive Intake
  • Cultural identity needs to be ascertained at the
    beginning of the intake process
  • Consultation must occur with an Aboriginal
    Liaison worker
  • Families are given assurance that Child FIRST
    response will be culturally sensitive and
    competent
  • From the beginning, the Aboriginal families are
    informed of the role of the Aboriginal Liaison
    worker.
  • Family is immediately aware that their culture
    acknowledged and valued.
  • Consultation can be identified or de-identified

18
Integrated Family ServicesThe Aboriginal Liaison
Worker
  • For Aboriginal families referred to community
    based intake we want to make sure that the
    response is culturally sensitive and competent.
  • We want to try and reduce the anxiety that an
    Aboriginal family may feel in being contacted by
    a Mainstream worker about concerns regarding
    their children and also make sure that
    non-Aboriginal workers are supported in making
    assessments and plans that are culturally
    responsive.

19
The Aboriginal Liaison Worker
  • The role includes
  • Exploring appropriateness of the referral
  • Providing advice and information
  • Support to non Aboriginal workers working with
    Aboriginal families for eg ways of working with
    Aboriginal families
  • Assisting in assessing risk and strengths
  • Identifying cultural issues- cultural safety
    connection to community
  • Exploring support services/programs for families

20
Aboriginal Liaison Worker
  • The role includes
  • Exploring support services for families
  • Outreach to engage clients joint home visits
  • Tasks associated with holding
  • Information gathering
  • Community education
  • Attending Intake Allocations meetings
  • Attending Team meetings
  • Intake and assessment- referrals directly to
    VACCA

21
Koorie FACES
  • The program
  • builds confidence in parents and families of
    Aboriginal children,
  • focuses on the value and importance of Aboriginal
    culture and Indigenous families,
  • uses a range of activities to ensure participants
    are involved in a fun and interactive learning
    environment,
  • applies Aboriginal leaning styles and includes
    group discussions, story telling particularly
    by Elders, roles plays, fun group activities
    which are highly visual and interactive and time
    to reflect on learning

22
The sessions
  • Understanding our past
  • Being a strong Koorie
  • Being a strong Koorie family
  • Connecting with your young fellas
  • Managing your young fellas
  • A celebration

23
Conclusion
  • Disconnection is a critical risk factor that
    mitigates against resilience.
  • Therefore we need to develop strategies which
  • re-connect the child with the family and the
    extended family,
  • re-connect the child with social networks of care
    and
  • re-connect the child with their culture.
  • Our children live in a hybrid world which is both
    Indigenous and post-invasion Australian.
  • We need to tell our Indigenous kids that they are
    valued and loved and that their culture is valued
    and respected.
  • Culture can provide that sense of belonging and
    through that belonging, resilience.
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