Kinship carers in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands will receive additional, culturally responsive support thanks to an innovative new pilot program set to start in the region soon.

The Department for Child Protection will provide almost $500,000 to fund the program, which will be run by NPY Women’s Council Aboriginal Corporation and employ six staff.

Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson said the new service will provide much needed support to between 20 and 30 kinship carer families, who include grandparents, aunties, uncles and other relatives, throughout some of South Australia’s most remote communities.

“We’re really pleased that an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation will be providing a culturally responsive, family-centred approach that considers the cultural dimensions of extended families and kinship obligations in a remote Aboriginal context,” said Minister Sanderson.

“Crucially, the six staff employed as part of this service, including four Anangu people, will be based in the APY Lands.

“The new service is about providing carers with whatever supports they need to create a strong, stable placement for the children and young people in their care.”

Minister Sanderson said the new program will seek to provide ongoing emotional and practical support and guidance to ensure kinship families are able to meet the needs of the children they care for.

It will also help DCP find suitable family for children that cannot live safely with their parents and be underpinned by DCP’s five elements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle.

NPY Women’s Council Chief Executive Officer Liza Balmer said “NPY Women’s Council is excited to pilot a program as important as this. We believe that children are given the best chance in life when they are nurtured by family, community and culture”.

“This program will give children and their carers the support they need to thrive and remain connected to a rich community and cultural life,” said Ms Balmer.

The program will run for an initial 12-month period and start once the recruitment process for local workers is complete.