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Aboriginal families and communities

Key deliverables:
  • A Family Scoping Unit focusing on finding placements for and connecting Aboriginal children to culture and kin
  • A Statewide communication and engagement strategy for delivering reform in partnership with the Aboriginal community
  • A workforce that is culturally competent and equipped to work successfully with Aboriginal children and families
  • Increased reach of services to Aboriginal families in remote areas

It is essential that the over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in the child protection system is addressed and outcomes for Aboriginal children and young people in care improved.

We are committed to:

  • meaningfully engaging with Aboriginal representatives and communities
  • ensuring priority reforms specifically address the needs of Aboriginal children, families and communities 
  • reform that is designed and delivered in partnership with Aboriginal people and the community. 

How we are engaging with Aboriginal children and families

The Aboriginal Community Leadership Reference Group represents, advocates for and advises on the needs of Aboriginal children, young people, families and communities regarding child protection reform. The group ensures Aboriginal voices are heard and views embedded in the implementation of the reforms and wider system initiatives. 

The Child Safety and Wellbeing Advisory Panel is co-chaired by the CEO, Aboriginal Family Support Services and membership includes: 

  • Office of the Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement
  • Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement.

A number of Aboriginal representatives attended community focus groups and provided important input into addressing Aboriginal over-representation in the child protection system. 

Workshops between the Aboriginal Community Leadership Reference Group, Senior Aboriginal Leaders Committee and DCP have and will continue to occur.

The department's Child Protection Statewide Aboriginal Network also provides further opportunities for Aboriginal staff to share their cultural knowledge, practices and experience.  

What are we delivering for Aboriginal children and families? 

A Family Scoping Unit with a priority on identifying kin and family to care for Aboriginal children is being established and placed in the Child Safety Pathway

An Aboriginal workforce recruitment and retention plan has been developed in the department.

Training and development programs for staff are being developed to specifically increase the cultural capacity of staff to work with Aboriginal children and families. 

Pilot programs

A number of pilot programs and initiatives across reforms are prioritising services to Aboriginal children, family and communities: 

  • Aboriginal kinship carers will be assessed using Winangay, a culturally appropriate, Aboriginal specific carer assessment tool by late 2017
  • an Aboriginal Cultural Identity Support Tool is being implemented to streamline the provision of cultural advice and ensure decisions about Aboriginal children consider connection to kin and culture
  • a commitment to address the backlog in kinship care assessments to ensure carers are supported to provide culturally competent and safe home environments for children
  • recruitment has commenced for additional APY Lands-based workers to work with Aboriginal children and families in our remote communities.

How we will know we are making a difference

The 3 priority reforms all incorporate a specific emphasis on working with Aboriginal children and families effectively.

The new Child Safety Pathway will apply a cultural lens informed by Aboriginal staff to ensure Aboriginal expertise and knowledge informs how notifications are received and assessed.

Child and Family Assessment and Referral Networks will develop partnerships with Aboriginal services to provide culturally sensitive responses and expand service options for Aboriginal families who may need help to care for children.

Meaningful partnerships with representatives from the Aboriginal community are also informing the development of an Out of Home Care strategy.

For more details about how Aboriginal families and communities are involved and considered in reform, download the A Fresh Start progress report (PDF 1.3MB).  


Reform Implementation team

Email: CPReform [at] sa.gov.au