snaicc news

snaicc
news
Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care
www.snaicc.org.au
February 2014
New centre opens
its doors to help
close the gap
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and
families in the Shoalhaven area of NSW now have
access to specialised and integrated services with
the opening of the Cullunghutti Aboriginal Child and
Family Centre at Nowra.
Unveiled on 20 January, the new centre will provide
culturally-appropriate care and education, as well as
family support assistance and child health care services.
Cullunghutti is one of 38 Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander children and family centres (ACFCs) created
across Australia under the Council of Australian
Governments (COAG) National Partnership Agreement
on Indigenous Early Childhood Development.
The Cullunghutti centre will be co-managed, with
Illawarra Area Child Care and Relationships Australia
NSW offering early learning services and family support
services, respectively.
Photos from Cullunghutti’s official opening
(clockwise from top): local Elders cut the
ribbon; members of the Worrigee Clan dance
group, which performed on the day; staff
at the new child and family centre. (Photos
courtesy of Relationships Australia NSW.)
Jim Golden-Brown from Relationships Australia NSW
said the centre would help close the health and
education gap of Indigenous children in the Shoalhaven
region “to give them the best start in life.”
SNAICC is campaigning to secure funding beyond June
2014 for the 38 ACFCs and other Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander early childhood services across Australia
— see pages 3 and 13.
Lift our children’s access to services: SNAICC
SNAICC has told the Productivity
Commission Inquiry into Child Care
and Early Childhood Learning that any
reform of the early childhood sector
in Australia must seek to address the
low access to early childhood services
experienced by Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander children.
Productivity Commission data indicates
that nationally, 1.9 per cent of children
in mainstream early childhood education
and care (ECEC) services are Indigenous,
although their representation in the
community is 4.4 per cent.
The commission also indicates that
“Indigenous children are underrepresented across all jurisdictions, and
this is greatest in the Northern Territory,
where 9.4 per cent of children attending
are Indigenous but their representation
in the community is 39.2 per cent.”
In its submission, SNAICC said the
commission’s inquiry provides an
opportune moment to examine some
fundamental gaps in the current system
as well as “striking opportunities” to
improve early childhood outcomes for
particularly disadvantaged children.
SNAICC said the Australian Government
should consider this an opportunity to
respond to the concerns identified by
the UN Committee on the Rights of the
Child in June 2012 regarding “the serious
and widespread discrimination faced
by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
children, including in terms of provision
of and accessibility to basic services”.
SNAICC said the Government should
increase availability and access to early
childhood education for Australia’s
Continued on page 10
The national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families
f r a n k ly
speaking
Hello and welcome to the February
2014 edition of SNAICC News! After a
great year for SNAICC in 2013, we face
a few new challenges in the coming 12
months. We are already preparing for
all of these that we can anticipate.
The new Federal Government has already
made several announcements that will
impact on the extent and quality of
services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander peoples.
Better supporting SNAICC’s members and
our sector more generally will remain
a major priority. As SNAICC does not
anticipate any real changes to the scope
of our work, we will continue to do what
we do and do it with greater confidence
and effectiveness.
Firstly we need to keep strengthening the
child protection sector as a communitydriven service provider to Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander children and
families. To this end we are will run
‘Family Matters’ jurisdictional forums
to find and support local, sectorbased strategies to reduce the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander children in out-of-home
care.
The forums will seek to engage local
members and others in the sector to
demand that government allow local
Aboriginal organisations to design,
develop and deliver such services.
Apart from furthering the goals of the
Family Matters project, the forums will
strengthen and better connect SNAICC’s
National Executive representatives in
that jurisdiction to members and more
generally to the sector.
Secondly, we need to continue our
support of the early years sector, be it the
Multi-functional Aboriginal Children’s
Services (MACS) or the Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Children and Family
Centres.
Children and families engaged in quality
early years services are far less likely to be
In this issue...
Page
SNAICC meets with Government ministers in Canberra
3–4
A message from the Minister for Indigenous Affairs
4
Plans to defund NATSILS and Congress raise concerns
5
SNAICC priorities for our children and families
6
Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council
7
Queensland Government responds to Child Protection Inquiry
7
Current SNAICC work at a glance
8
National Children’s Commissioner tables first report 9
Aunt Sue Blacklock named Ambassador for Children
10
Integrated children’s services can help close the gap: expert
11
A look at two early years services: Umbakumba and Yarrabah 12–13
Warning: Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander
readers should be aware
that this publication
may contain images of
people who may have
since passed away.
2
Forum looks for answers on NT child protection issues 14–15
Intensive programs support families to stay together
16–17
Royal Commission must not overlook our people’s stories
18
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Children’s Day 2014
19
New maths program a plus for young children
20
Meet two of our new members
21
Tasmanian Aboriginal Child and Family Centres win awards
22
Latest news from the SNAICC training team
23
We need your voice — become a SNAICC member!
24
snaicc news February 2014
Better supporting
SNAICC’s members
and our sector more
generally will remain
a major priority in
2014.
caught up in the child protection system
­­— indeed this may be the best strategy
to prevent children entering the child
protection system.
It makes good economic and social sense
to ensure these services are properly and
securely funded for this reason alone, as
well as the added benefits to families and
communities they serve. A ‘place-based’
approach is what is needed and the early
years services can offer this model of
community development and service.
Thirdly, SNAICC will continue to work to
shift funds towards the ‘front end’ — that
is, to preventative work, rather than
throwing more and more money at the
‘down stream end’, post crisis.
Governments currently spend a large
percentage of funding in the latter
area. SNAICC would like to see this
ratio reversed over the next 10 years to
boost parenting, early intervention and
intensive family support programs.
We need to also communicate to
governments the costs of punitive policy
that hurts people and seek to have them
replace these strategies with supportive
and enabling work with people, to ensure
the best long term benefits for the people
concerned and the community in general.
Finally, we will also continue to do the
work we already do: deliver quality
training; develop solid evidence-based
policy; design, develop and produce
useful resources, build on and better
SNAICC’s website, extend our media
presence and keep SNAICC a strong,
supportive and pleasant place to work;
to be an effective agency sought out for
our knowledge and expertise and be an
employer of choice.
It’s going to be a busy year and I hope you
will engage with us to push for the results
we all want in regard to all Aboriginal and
Torres Strait children and families.
Frank Hytten, SNAICC CEO
[email protected]
FAR LEFT: SNAICC
Chairperson Sharron
Williams. LEFT: Minister
for Indigenous Affairs,
Senator Nigel Scullion
pictured at a town camp
in Alice Springs. (Photo
courtesy of Koori Mail
newspaper.)
SNAICC meets with new ministers in Canberra
SNAICC has urged the Australian
Government to support Aboriginal
early childhood education services —
which face an uncertain future despite
their crucial role in closing the gap on
Indigenous disadvantage.
In meetings with Government ministers
in early December, SNAICC discussed
options for a new program it has
developed for Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander early childhood services.
The SNAICC proposal does not require
significant new funding and will allow
services to build on their proven success
of improving educational outcomes for
Australia’s most vulnerable children.
Members of SNAICC’s National Executive,
including Chairperson Sharron Williams,
met with Indigenous Affairs Minister
Nigel Scullion, Assistant Minister
for Education Sussan Ley, as well as
Opposition spokesman Shayne Neumann
and other MPs in Canberra.
Foremost on the agenda was the future
of the Budget Based Funding (BBF)
program — which funds the majority of
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early
childhood services and is currently being
reviewed — and the 38 Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Children and Family
Centres (ACFCs), whose funding ends in
June 2014.
SNAICC’s proposal for Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander early childhood
services is based on consultations with
these services and a new research paper
it commissioned from Professor Deb
Brennan, a highly-respected voice in the
early childhood sector.
“The BBFs and ACFCs are bedrock services
for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
families around Australia. They deliver
services in flexible, locally determined
ways that community needs and build on
community strengths,” Professor Brennan
wrote in her Joining the Dots paper (see
page 11).
However, Professor Brennan found a
low participation rate by Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander families in
the mainstream child care and early
childhood education system. Barriers
included a lack of places, cost, quality,
hours of opening, location and lack
of responsiveness to the needs of
Indigenous children and families.
Professor Brennan wrote government
should “join the dots” of the growing
evidence of the value of early childhood
services in communities and their ability
to meet high-level government policy
objectives by establishing secure funding
arrangements for services.
SNAICC’s proposal looks to do just this:
secure appropriate and sustainable levels
of funding for evidence-based Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander services for the
next 10 years, and calls for the creation
of 40 new community-controlled services
across Australia every three years.
“The future of these services is in
peril,” SNAICC Chairperson Sharron
Williams said. “What is more, there
remain vast areas of the country with
high populations of our children and
no service support. This is simply not
acceptable.
Indigenous programs
transferred to Prime
Minister’s department
The Coalition has made a number of
major ‘machinery of government’
changes following its election win in
September 2013.
Among the main administrative
changes, the Department of the
Prime Minister and Cabinet became
the responsible agency for the
majority of Indigenous policies,
programs and service delivery.
Programs transferred to PM&C
include the Family Support Program
and the Budget Based Funding
Program, which funds the majority
of Indigenous community-controlled
early childhood services.
In an historic move, the Minister
for Indigenous Affairs is now a
member of Cabinet, giving the
portfolio a more senior status,
while the Prime Minister will also be
supported on Indigenous affairs by a
Parliamentary Secretary.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has also
appointed a 12-member Indigenous
Advisory Council, as part of what
he called the Government’s “new
engagement” with Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander people. The
advisory council is chaired by Warren
Mundine (see page 7).
Continued on page 4
snaicc news February 2014
3
SNAICC meets
with ministers
Continued from page 3
“What we are asking for is simply to
rework current allocations to provide
the same funding levels to the most
disadvantaged children as are provided to
other children in Australia.
“At the moment, that is clearly not
happening, and Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander children continue to suffer
a lack of access to quality services as a
result.
“There is ample evidence that our
services are doing a great job in
improving educational, health and
wellbeing outcomes for children and
meeting the needs of children, families
and communities in an affordable and
integrated way.”
SNAICC has received 1200 postcards from
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
communities expressing support for its
proposal — the postcards will be sent to
Prime Minister Abbott. The proposal also
the backing of major agencies such as
ACOSS, Early Childhood Australia, UNICEF
and the Human Rights Law Centre.
A number of services and major
Indigenous agencies have written to
Mr Abbott calling on the Australian
Government to commit to adequate and
sustainable funding of integrated early
years services beyond June 2014.
Ms Williams has also written to the PM
commending the Government’s approach
to support “pragmatic on-the-ground
solutions and invest in local control”
to improve the lives of Indigenous
Australians.
“SNAICC looks forward to working with
you, in your role as the first Prime
Minister for Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander peoples, to see concrete
evidence-based policies and programs
developed and resourced in genuine
partnership and collaboration with
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
communities,” Ms Williams wrote.
SNAICC has organised a Parliamentary
breakfast in Canberra on 13 February
to bring together key players to discuss
the future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander early childhood services. The
event is in partnership with ACOSS, Early
Childhood Australia, and UNICEF.
4
snaicc news February 2014
A message from
the Minister for
Indigenous
Affairs, Senator
Nigel Scullion
Indigenous children deserve a start in
life that provides them with a platform
from which they can grow up to live
healthy, prosperous and fulfilling lives.
The Australian Government is committed
to giving Indigenous children the best
possible start in life: from pregnancy to
early childhood, school and beyond.
This includes helping families through
parenting education, culturallyappropriate support and better access to
health services. It also includes a strong
focus on the early years so that kids
are prepared for school, eat nutritious
food and are healthy, and have a strong
foundation for what follows later in life.
The environment in which children live
in their early years is fundamental to
ensuring that children can grow and
thrive.
We are committed to keeping children
safe from violence and neglect and
ensuring that the ordinary law of the
land is observed. Wherever possible, we
want to keep kids out of out-of-home care
so they retain their connection to their
family and culture.
Receiving a good education is vital if
Indigenous children are to graduate
from school and find rewarding jobs. It
is important that children attend school
every day, engage with their teachers and
complete their studies.
We need to ensure kids stay out of the
justice system so they can complete their
studies, move into work and participate
in their community. Promoting positive
social engagement and strong leadership
in young people will help change social
norms so Indigenous Australians can
achieve better outcomes.
Indigenous Australians deserve a better
future.
“The Australian
Government believes
that creating a better
future for Indigenous
Australians begins
with looking after
Indigenous children
and their families.”
A future with more job opportunities,
better access to education for individuals
and communities, creating higher
standards of living.
The Australian Government believes that
creating a better future for Indigenous
Australians begins with looking after
Indigenous children and their families.
With the majority of Indigenous policy
and programmes now consolidated in the
Department of the Prime Minister and
Cabinet, the Government is currently
working to review and rationalise
Indigenous programmes to ensure that
funding for these programmes is squarely
focused on delivering real outcomes.
These changes will reduce red tape and
allow the Government to focus on its
key objectives of ensuring children go
to school, adults go to work and the
ordinary law of the land is observed.
Building healthier, safer, stronger,
prosperous and happier Indigenous
communities is part of our commitment to
build a stronger Australia — and a better
future for all Australians.
— Senator Nigel Scullion
Plan to defund
NATSILS and
Congress
raises major
concerns
SNAICC has expressed its concerns at the
Australian Government’s plan to defund
the National Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS)
and the National Congress of Australia’s
First Peoples.
The Government is set to announce the
defunding of NATSILS, the national peak
body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Legal Services (ATSILS), and of all
law reform and policy officer positions in
each state and territory ATSILS, in order
to make an annual saving of $3m from the
2014–15 financial year onwards.
The Government has also flagged that
its funding for the National Congress of
Australia’s First Peoples (Congress) will
not continue beyond June 2014.
NATSILS said the funding cuts will mean
that even more Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander peoples will not be able
to access essential legal services and will
further entrench Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander peoples as second-class
citizens in their own country.
NATSILS Chairperson, Shane Duffy,
said that at a time when Indigenous
incarceration rates are at an alarming
high, and only continue to rise, defunding
services such as ATSILS and its national
peak body was short sighted.
“Without a national peak body and state
based law reform and policy officers,
governments around Australia will
have no access to informed, evidencebased frontline advice in regards to the
effectiveness of the justice system,” Mr
Duffy said.
“Justice related costs are spiralling out of
control around Australia, and removing
the ability of frontline services to provide
government agencies with accurate
policy advice will only serve to make our
system more ineffective, inefficient and
increasingly costly. Cutting funding at
Shane Duffy
the policy level in order to save money is
simply a false economy.”
Mr Duffy said the small saving of $3m per
year was nothing compared to the impact
that such cuts were going to have on the
ground.
“Without the advocacy work of a national
peak body and State and Territory based
Law Reform and Policy Officers, more
people are going to end up in prison. It’s
as simple as that,” Mr Duffy said.
SNAICC Chairperson Sharron Williams
said the proposed defunding of NATSILS
undermined the Abbott Government’s
stated intention to improve the lives
of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
people.
Ms Williams agreed with Mr Duffy that the
cuts would lead to even higher Indigenous
incarceration rates, as well as undermine
efforts to improve Aboriginal community
life and safety.
“More Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander people going to prison would
have a detrimental impact on more of our
children and families, adding to an already
increasing number of children and their
families facing poverty, marginalisation
and dysfunction,” Ms Williams said.
Congress met with the Federal Indigenous
Affairs Minister Senator Nigel Scullion in
mid-December and was advised that the
Government was unlikely to sign a $15m
funding agreement — a commitment made
in the 2013 Budget — to allow Congress
to consolidate its operations and develop
independent sources of funding.
In a joint statement, Congress co-chairs
Les Malezer and Kirstie Parker promised
Congress members and supporters “that it
will continue as a strong, fearless national
representative body for Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Peoples.”
“Our founders protected Congress from the
whims of Government by ensuring we were
Kirstie Parker and Les Malezer
“Without the advocacy
work of a national
peak body and State
and Territory based
Law Reform and Policy
Officers, more people
are going to end up in
prison. It’s as simple as
that.”
— Shane Duffy, NATSILS Chair
established as an independent company
owned and operated by our Peoples — not
as a construct of the Government,” Mr
Malezer and Ms Parker said.
“Congress was also established based on
the right to make decisions for ourselves.
This is clearly articulated in the UN
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples, Article 18...
“The new Government has shown that they
do not support real decision making for
our families and communities through a
national representative body chosen by
our Peoples, for our Peoples.
“The Board remains focused on the
purposes of Congress, including securing
economic, political, social, cultural and
environmental futures for our Peoples.
“Critical to this will be building a
sustainable financial base for the long
term. Congress will also continue to grow
its extensive membership of Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.”
In further budget cuts, the National Family
Violence Prevention and Legal Service
(NFVPLS) is expecting to lose $3.5m in
funding over the next three years.
The national convenor for the program,
Antoinette Braybrook, told ABC Radio she
strongly disagreed with the Government’s
assertion that frontline services would not
be affected.
snaicc news February 2014
5
A recent SNAICC paper outlined priority issues for Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander children and families. The initiatives provide
concrete avenues for government action in a number of critical areas.
1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
leadership and voice
The best outcomes in community
wellbeing and development for Indigenous
peoples are achieved where those peoples
have control over their own lives and are
empowered to respond to and address the
problems facing their own communities.
Our priorities for Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander
children and families
Priority: Five-year funding to SNAICC and
other key national Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander peak bodies.
2. Invest in the early years
Environments that support optimal early
childhood development greatly increase
the likelihood of a successful transition
to school; positive learning outcomes
at school; and enhanced life education,
employment and health.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
services, where they exist, are a
community development engine that
nurtures and protects children, and
supports families to raise children healthy
and proud. Other benefits include training
and employment, local governance,
leadership, family stability, health and
community empowerment.
Priority actions in early years: see page 13
3. Education celebrating and
supporting the unique strengths and
needs of our children
Effective evidence-based transition to
school programs are a fundamental but
overlooked aspect of preparing children,
and particularly Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander children, for a successful
school life. Children and families’ first
experiences of school have significant
implications for educational and broader
developmental outcomes, and for future
engagement with educational institutions.
This is accentuated for Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander children, who
experience higher vulnerability and
exclusion in early childhood, including
particularly low enrolment and attendance
rates in preschool and early childhood
programs.
Priority actions: Embed evidence
on effective transition to school for
Indigenous children into early childhood
and primary tertiary courses.
Establish a discrete three-year funding
program to support evidence-based
transition to school programs within early
childhood education and care services and
schools across Australia.
6
4. National leadership to Close the Gap in 6. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
over-representation of Aboriginal and
participation in child protection
Torres Strait Islander children in child
decision-making
protection system
The central importance of Indigenous
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
participation to quality and effective
children are being placed into out-ofchild protection decision-making for
home care at a rate 10 times that for other Indigenous children is strongly supported
children. This rate continues to increase
by Australian and international evidence,
despite multiple child protection inquiries and informed by human rights standards.
and reforms in the states and territories
Independent participation of Aboriginal
in recent years. A lack of significant,
and Torres Strait Islander peoples is
consistent take up of recommendations
critical to ensure an alternative cultural
has been a major factor. Clear and strong
lens that reflects the importance of family,
leadership from the Federal Government
culture and community in deciding the
has potential to have a significant impact. best interests of children.
Priority action: Introduce a Closing the Gap Priority actions: Measures to strengthen
target on child protection.
independent and representative
participation must be incorporated
5. Priority for early intervention
into a national strategy for improving
The National Framework for Protecting
compliance with Aboriginal and Torres
Australia’s children 2009-2020 recognises Strait Islander Child Placement Principle.
the need for a systemic shift to
Fund SNAICC to work with 20 communities
preventative measures to achieve a major
to develop local governance structures to
and sustained reduction in child abuse
identify and manage child protection risks
and neglect. Expenditure on reactive and
within community.
remedial statutory child protection services
continues to increase relative to funding
7. Cultural competence of services for
for family support and other preventative
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
measures. This must change if the National
families
Framework’s objectives are to be realised.
Access to family services for vulnerable
Supporting community-based and led
service development and delivery is
critical to improving services, as well as
community development, empowerment
and employment for Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander communities.
Priority actions: National early intervention
reinvestment targets adopted through
COAG of at least equal expenditure on early
intervention family support to expenditure
in the statutory system within five years.
Put in place contracts to ensure that
each place-based initiative is led by an
Indigenous organisation or is governed
by a partnership agreement that supports
capacity development and transfers
control and authority to an Indigenous
organisation with clear timelines.
snaicc news February 2014
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
families requires strong commitment
to the development of capacity for
Indigenous-led and managed services, the
development of cultural competence, and
the development of genuine partnerships
that promote both of these aims.
Priority actions: Incorporate cultural
competence framework into government
service contracts; and the National Quality
Standard for early childhood education
and care services.
Support service providers through
training, with additional support for
mentoring and facilitating relationships at
the community level.
Adopt a capacity-building partnership
model to empower local communities to
deliver services.
PHOTO: Prime
Minister Abbott
(right) with Warren
Mundine at the
first meeting of the
Indigenous Advisory
Council.(Photo
courtesy of Geoff
Bagnall, National
Indigenous Times.)
PM’s Indigenous Advisory Council
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has
appointed a 12-member Indigenous
Advisory Council to provide practical
advice to government on policies and
programs for Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people and help close
the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.
The council is headed by Warren
Mundine, who is executive chairman of
the Australian Indigenous Chamber of
Commerce and a former president of the
Australian Labor Party.
Mr Abbott said the council had a mix of
leaders with a broad range of skills and
experience, including in business and
the public sector, and was part of his
government’s “new engagement” with
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
people.
The council held its first meeting
in Canberra on 5 December and will
meet three times a year. Mr Mundine,
as council chair, will meet with the
Prime Minister and Indigenous Affairs
Minister Senator Scullion each month.
Prime Minister Abbott said: “While
the Council’s remit is broad, I have
asked Council members to focus on
improving school attendance and
educational attainment, creating
lasting employment opportunities for
Indigenous Australians in the real
economy, and empowering Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander communities.”
Mr Mundine said a major task for
the council would be to look at the
total amount and effectiveness of
government expenditure on Indigenous
programs, including all funding going
to state and territory governments.
“It is about how we get bang for the
dollar and that’s what we will definitely
be looking at,” he told News Limited.
Mr Mundine said the council would work
with state and territory governments as
well as the Australian government “to
get those outcomes that are needed for
the citizens of their state.”
Responding to reports of budget
cuts to legal services (see page 5) Mr
Mundine said the council could not act
as a “force field” to shield Indigenous
organisations in tough economic times.
The council’s membership is:
• Mr Warren Mundine — executive
chairman of the Australian
Indigenous Chamber of Commerce
• Richard Ah Mat — chairman of the
Cape York Land Council
• Ms Leah Armstrong — chief
executive of Reconciliation Australia
• Dr Ngiare Brown — former
foundation chief executive of the
Australian Indigenous Doctors’
Association
• Ms Josephine Cashman — managing
director and founder of Riverview
Global Partners
• Ms Gail Kelly — managing director
of Westpac
• Mr Djambawa Marawili AM — an
Indigenous artist and leader of the
Yolngu Madarrpa people
• Mr Bruce Martin — chief executive
of Aak Puul Ngantam (Cape York)
• Mr David Peever — managing
director of Rio Tinto Australia
• Mr Andrew Penfold — chief
executive of the Australian
Indigenous Education Foundation
• Professor Peter Shergold AC —
chancellor of the University of
Western Sydney
• Mr Daniel Tucker — managing
director of Carey Mining.
Government
responds to
Queensland Child
Protection Inquiry
SNAICC has welcomed the Queensland
Government’s broad acceptance of most
recommendations made by the recent
Queensland Child Protection Inquiry.
In the response, released on 16 December
2013, the Government affirmed its
commitment to “partner with relevant
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peaks,
providers, community representatives
and other stakeholders…to develop and
implement a comprehensive and concerted
Strengthening Indigenous Families,
Protecting Children Reform Project.”
SNAICC is encouraged by the Government’s
expressed commitment to increasing early
intervention measures that support our
families. This includes the strengthening
and earlier availability of Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Family Support
Services, with building their capacity a
major priority over the next 10 years.
The planned reforms envisage family
support as part of an integrated suite
of child and family wellbeing services
that includes a strengthened role for
community-controlled Recognised Entities
to participate in decision-making, support
family decision-making and undertake
cultural care planning.
Importantly, the Government has
acknowledged the central importance of
“keeping children connected to family,
community and culture” for their wellbeing
and promised to review financial and
practical supports for, and appropriate
assessment of kinship carers.
However, SNAICC remains concerned that
the Government response fails to capture
the critical role of Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people and organisations to
participate in, and lead the reforms.
The Queensland Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Child Protection Peak
(QATSICPP) should be a leading voice in
reform and support capacity growth for
community-controlled services. QATSICPP’s
recent appointment to the leadership
group for the reforms is a positive step
to ensure changes are informed by and
accountable to the needs and priorities of
Indigenous Queenslanders.
snaicc news February 2014
7
Current projects at a glance
www.snaicc.org.au
Child protection
•Work to develop a training and
resource package to support
genuine, respectful interagency
partnerships between Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander, and mainstream
organisations is well under way. We
hope to finalise this package in the
next quarter for release. The project
builds on the base of research that
SNAICC has developed on what
genuine partnerships require to
create practical tools and put in
place supports that can help to make
partnerships a reality.
•SNAICC continues efforts to forge
a national strategy to improve
compliance with the Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Child
Placement Principle. This is a
critical issue for SNAICC to see greater
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
participation in decision-making. We
are also working to have some stateterritory level discussions on the
paper SNAICC released on this issue
last year, Whose Voice Counts?, with
forums coming up in South Australia
and NSW.
•Workshops with five deadly intensive/
targeted family support services
(IFSS) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander families took place towards
the end of 2013 for the Moving to
Prevention project (see page 16).
A second round of workshops will
be held early this year, leading to
a report on the factors that lead to
successful outcomes under these
programs for Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander families, and a practice
guide and training package to support
services.
•SNAICC is developing a series of
fact sheets on the child protection
system and processes across
Australian states and territories.
These will be primarily for child
protection and early intervention
workers, as well as some materials for
families themselves. They will cover a
broad range of child protection issues,
as well as provide information on
available support services.
8
snaicc news February 2014
•Family Matters: Kids Safe in Culture,
Early childhood education
and care
Not in Care had its first major forum
•SNAICC’s project to develop a
in Darwin on 14 November (see pages
resource and training guide to
14–15). It brought together mob
better equip educators to support
from community, NGOs, government
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
and other people working on child
children to successfully transition
protection issues impacting on
to school progressed in the last few
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
months. We have been getting out
children. There were many passionate
across the country to spend time with
discussions around some of the
some services and schools running
key gaps in the current system and
some amazing transition-to-school
strategies required to strengthen
programs for Aboriginal and Torres
supports for families and prevent
Strait Islander children. We are
child removal, and ensure children are
writing up these consultations now.
safe and cared for within family and
SNAICC has also sent out a survey
culture. We were really humbled by
and is seeking input from educators
some of the strengths of families and
in schools and early childhood
outraged by so many of the struggles
services, as well as families and higher
they are still facing. The report and
education institutes, on what are
action plan have been released and
some of the strengths in knowledge
we are working with a local steering
and skills of educators and what are
committee to see it move into action.
some areas that would benefit from
The next forums are in planning for
some greater support. Next step is
Western Australia and South Australia.
developing the training package —
•SNAICC is working to finalise a
stay tuned!
National Practice Guide on the
•SNAICC is lobbying the Australian
prevention of family violence in
Government to confirm adequate
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
funding for integrated communitycommunities. The guide aims to be
controlled children and family
an accessible resource for services
services for Aboriginal and Torres
working with Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander children (see pages 3
Strait Islander families to prevent and
and 13). Services have written cards
respond to family violence.
to the Prime Minister and SNAICC has
•Stay tuned for new sections of
organised a function in Canberra on
SNAICC’s Supporting Carers to Care
13 February to canvass the issue.
for our Children website. Content for
•SNAICC released a paper in late 2013
a series of new sections has been
on the cultural competence of the
finalised and is now being uploaded.
National Quality Framework, and
This includes information on becoming
in particular its quality assessment
a carer; preparing your home to care
process, the National Quality Standard
for a child; supporting children with
(NQS). We are looking forward to
disabilities; bush tucker; and new
discussions with the sector and key
games and activities. SNAICC has
bodies on this paper in the next few
been working to raise awareness
months.
about the resource and promote it
•After a very busy 2013, SNAICC
through different conferences and
is looking to further increase
key organisations. This includes at the
opportunities for organisations and
CREATE conference and National FRSA
communities to participate in our
Conference, both held in November
training workshops — see page 23.
2013. Presentations have also been
•SNAICC is gearing up for a great
approved for the upcoming Child
National Aboriginal and Torres
Aware Conference (Families Australia
Strait Islander Children’s Day in
(April 2014) and the Indigenous
2014 — see page 19.
Women’s Conference (October 2014).
ABOVE: Megan Mitchell
Prevention and
early intervention
the keys to improve
children’s rights
The first national report into children’s
rights in Australia has recommended
prevention and early intervention
measures to break cycles of violence,
abuse and disadvantage.
The National Children’s Commissioner,
Megan Mitchell, said in her report —
tabled in Federal Parliament on 11
December 2013 — that Australia could not
afford to continue to let down generations
of children suffering abuse and neglect.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
children, children in rural areas and
children in detention were found to be
among the most in need of attention.
“One of the strongest themes to emerge
from children was the need to tackle
the high levels of violence, abuse and
neglect in communities. Having access to
family support and preventative services
that break the cycle of disadvantage and
divert children away from costly tertiary
programs is the key to this,” Ms Mitchell
said.
Ms Mitchell’s report can be
viewed at: www.humanrights.
gov.au/publications
and remote areas and in Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander communities that I
visited,” Ms Mitchell said.
“I think all the statistics we have
legitimate that. We’ve know that 23
per cent of children experience family
violence and we know that that figure’s
about 42 per cent for Aboriginal children.”
Child advocates raised serious concerns
with Ms Mitchell about the respect for
and the implementation of the Aboriginal
Child Placement Principle and the need
to directly engage and empower local
people in decision-making. The overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander children in the care and
protection and juvenile justice systems
was repeatedly raised.
Ms Mitchell told ABC Radio that Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander children and
children living in rural areas were subject
to greater levels of bullying and violence
than other Australian children.
Many of these issues were also highlighted by the UN Committee on the Rights
of the Child in its June 2012 report that
reviewed Australia’s implementation of
the UN Convention on the Rights of the
Child.
“The issue of violence and bullying: it was
pretty much across the board, regardless
of where people lived. However it was
more acutely obvious in some more rural
One of the recommendations in Ms
Michell’s report is that the Australian
Government respond formally to the UN
committee’s report. The response should
indicate how it intends to progress
addressing the recommendations, and
timelines and benchmarks for their
implementation.
The Children’s Rights Report 2013
provides a state-of-the-nation report
on children’s rights in Australia, details
collaborative children’s projects being
undertaken across the Australian Human
Rights Commission and it articulates the
key findings of the National Children’s
Commissioner’s listening tour, titled the
Big Banter.
The Big Banter survey asked children
what was important to them. For those
under eight years old, home and family
were most important. Children from 8
to 17 years of age who completed the
online survey placed being safe as most
important, followed closely by being with
their families.
The report emphasises the need to
educate children about their rights and
empower them to raise concerns, and to
listen to children more systematically
when decisions that impact on them are
being made.
snaicc news February 2014
9
SNAICC submission to
Productivity Commission
Continued from page 1
children by considering providing free or
affordable early childhood services.
SNAICC also suggests that any review of
child care and early childhood learning
in Australia must recognise and support
the unique Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander cultural and community
strengths. It also needs to redress the
persistently low educational, health
and wellbeing outcomes experienced
by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
children.
Following is a snapshot of SNAICC’s major
recommendations:
• A long-term national strategy for early
childhood development for Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander children
should be created to drive reforms in
the early childhood education and care
sector.
• The government, in partnership
with Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander peak bodies and services,
should develop a cultural competence
framework (and accompanying guide)
to support implementation of the
guiding principle within the National
Quality Framework that Australia’s
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
cultures are valued. This should be
applied to the assessment process as a
whole. It should also include criteria
for the assessment of mainstream
services supporting Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander children.
• Training funds should be allocated and
appropriate training be mandated to
ensure all mainstream services have
access to cultural competency training,
resources and ongoing supports.
• Inequities in funding for children
attending mainstream and nonmainstream services should be
redressed.
• Map current service gaps which limit
access to quality ECEC for Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander children,
recognising the need for service choice
for Indigenous families.
The Productivity Commission is due to
release its final report on child care and
early childhood learning in October 2014.
10
snaicc news February 2014
Elder becomes Ambassador for Children
An Aboriginal Elder dedicated to
improving the lives of Aboriginal
children in care has become
the Australian Centre for Child
Protection’s first Ambassador for
Children.
Aunt Sue Blacklock (pictured above),
a senior Elder of the Gamilaraay nation
from Tingha, New South Wales, is being
recognised for a lifetime of community
work and for chairing Winangay
Resources Inc, a volunteer organisation
working in partnership with the Centre
on a project to enhance community and
family responsibility for the protection
of Aboriginal children.
Recent statistics indicate that 4.72
per cent of children aged 0-17 years
in Australia are Indigenous, yet they
constitute a third (nearly 33.6 per cent)
of those placed in out-of-home care.
The over-representation of Aboriginal
children in out-of-home care, outside
of their community, is what Aunt Sue
seeks to address.
“For many Aboriginal children being
removed from the family home also
means loss and disconnection from
their local community, from their
culture and land,” Aunt Sue says.
“The sense of loss of identity and
culture, dispossession, and separation
from local community that these
children grow up experiencing is the
same as those experienced by the
Stolen Generation. It’s traumatic and
the communities are left crying for
these children. Kinship care reduces
the trauma for Aboriginal children and
their communities and reducing kids’
trauma must be a government priority.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by SNAICC,
which has reported that unless new
approaches are adopted in child
protection, “we risk another Stolen
Generation”.
A new national approach that Winangay
Resources Inc and the Australian Centre
for Child Protection are working to adopt
is expected to result in the effective use
of new assessments tools and supports
provided to carers, enabling a higher
proportion of Aboriginal children to be
placed safely with Aboriginal carers and
communities.
This includes the training of 70
practitioners in culturally-appropriate
methods of carer assessment for carers
of Aboriginal children and culturally
valid assessment of carers.
Australian Centre for Child Protection
Director, Professor Fiona Arney said the
unique research the centre is doing in
this area adds to the knowledge base
of what constitutes strong and relevant
practice in child protection, and could
be used in other communities across
Australia.
“This national project harnesses cultural
practice and research expertise in a
close partnership,” Prof Arney says.
“The centre and Winangay Resources Inc
are working together to further build
the rigorous evidence base for the use
of these culturally derived, researchinformed tools in the protection of
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
children across Australia.”
Professor Arney said it was a privilege
for the centre to be represented by Aunt
Sue as its first ambassador.
Integrated
services can
help close
the gap,
says expert
A research paper by a leading early
childhood expert has re-affirmed the
vital role of integrated Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander early childhood
services for our children, families and
communities.
The paper, titled Joining the Dots, written
by Professor Deb Brennan, presents
program and funding ideas to support
integrated services — those funded
under the Budget Based Funding (BBF)
program, as well as Aboriginal Child and
Family Centres (ACFCs).
The paper’s broader aim is to help develop
policy and funding ideas for sustainable,
community-managed Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander children’s services.
And Professor Brennan’s paper,
commissioned by SNAICC, endorses a
funding model for services developed by
SNAICC following extensive consultation,
research and analysis.
JOINING
THE DOTS
Program and Funding Options
for Integrated Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander
Children’s Services
Options paper prepared for
Secretariat of National Aboriginal
and Islander Child Care (SNAICC)
by Professor Deb Brennan
Available at www.snaicc.org.au
have tremendous potential to help ‘close
the gap’ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander children.”
“Supportive policy and secure funding
would enable the BBFs and ACFCs to
become flagship services, demonstrating
excellent and innovative practice with
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
children and families, attracting inspiring
teachers, linking with local schools and
playing a key role in workforce development, leadership and community
empowerment.”
“The BBFs and ACFCs are bedrock services
for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
families around Australia. They deliver
services in flexible, locally determined
ways that community needs and build on
community strengths,” Professor Brennan
writes.
She notes that the services reviewed
provided “holistic, community-led
programs” for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander children that “address a wide
range of physical, social, emotional and
learning needs —far wider than the needs
in mainstream early education and care
services.”
“As a result of the goodwill and trust
built up by these services and their staff,
sometimes over many decades, they
Professor Brennan contends that the
services are well-placed to meet the
high-level policy aims of COAG (Council
“The BBFs and ACFCs
are bedrock services for
Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander families
around Australia. They
deliver services in flexible,
locally determined ways
that community needs
and build on community
strengths.
of Australian Governments) in
relation to both early childhood
education and care and “closing
the gap” initiatives.
She calls on government to “join
the dots” of policy objectives
and a growing evidence base
of the value of services by
“bringing policy and evidence
into alignment with program
objectives and establishing secure
funding arrangements to deliver
long-term benefits in a costeffective way.”
Professor Brennan found a low
participation rate by Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander families
in the mainstream child care and
early childhood education system.
Barriers included a lack of places,
cost, quality, hours of opening, location
and lack of responsiveness to the needs of
Indigenous children and families.
Professor Brennan calls for free early childhood education to children participating
in BBFs and ACFCs — an initiative that
“would extend to them a benefit already
enjoyed by tens of thousands of children
in Australia who access free preschools and
kindergartens.”
Professor Brennan writes that, in
considering appropriate levels of support
for children participating in BBFs and
ACFCs, the Australian Government should
use as benchmarks the Maximum Child Care
Benefit (worth approximately $10,000 per
year per child) and-or Maximum Child Care
Rebate ($7,500 per year).
“Substantial additional investments in
the BBFs and ACFCs is required in order to
bring national investment on Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander early education
into line with the funding of ‘mainstream
services,” Professor Brennan finds.
“As a result of the goodwill
and trust built up by
these services and their
staff, sometimes over
many decades, they have
tremendous potential to
help ‘close the gap’ for
Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander children.”
— Professor Deb Brennan
snaicc news February 2014
11
Despite their critical
role in communities
— and proven worth —
Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander early
years services are facing
funding uncertainty
beyond June 2014.
Umbakumba Crèche and
LEFT: A young mother and baby at a service run by the East
Yarrabah PCYC highlight
Arnhem Shire Council in the NT; one of the services the council
the great work being
runs is the Umbakumba crèche (pictured below). ABOVE: A
family camp run by the Yarrabah PCYC in north Queensland.
done by our services
across Australia.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early years services:
Nurturing our children and
Umbakumba Crèche,
The EARC childcare centres are not in a
financial position to afford the building
maintenance charges required by the
council, and so they run at a huge loss
as they are unable to cover overhead
expenses.
Groote Eylandt, NT
Umbakumba Crèche provides a family
friendly environment to support
children, mothers and families of
the small community on Groote
Eylandt. The crèche is an Aboriginal
child care service that retains culture
and language with a strong focus on
education that links the local children
and families with the school.
Health and nutrition are also a strong
focus. Some children at Umbakumba have
additional needs, including orthopaedic
support and hearing issues. Others may
be at risk of failure to thrive. If any of the
children are unwell or need medication
treatment, staff members link them to
the local health clinic or other services.
Families are supported to help their
children grow up strong, with sessions for
parents on healthy food and hygiene.
Umbakumba also has a Family Support
Worker, who among other things
supports mothers and families in a
‘New Born Baby’ program. Over the past
year, all families in the community with
newborn babies have been contacted
and are having regular visits through the
outreach component of this program.
Umbakumba also offers ‘family fun days’
where families have the opportunity to
participate in social outings, such as day
trips to the beach.
Keeping families together and community
strong is an objective of the Aboriginal
12
snaicc news February 2014
child care services run by the local
community women. Where a child has
been identified by child protection, the
Family Support Program and crèche can
play a big role in supporting the child to
remain with their family on community.
In the past year, 39 children have
attended the crèche, all of whom are
Aboriginal, as are the staff that operate
the service. Many family helpers also
contribute their time, support and
knowledge at the crèche.
The Umbakumba Crèche once operated
as a ‘virtual’ crèche around the school
environment, but it is now located in a
purpose-built facility. The building was
funded by the former DEEWR and is owned
by the NT Department of Education. The
East Arnhem Regional Council (EARC) is
the service provider operating the child
care service.
The EARC child care facilities receive BBF
operational income, but do not receive
funding to provide ongoing maintenance
for the buildings and infrastructure.
Staff members are concerned that the
crèche, which previously operated around
the school term, is now expected to
operate as a long day service. The change
in operating hours means that it will be
necessary to increase fees, but staff are
deeply concerned that this will not be
viable for families — who already struggle
to pay the current fees of $2 a day. From
2014 council has approved an increased fee
charge of $5 a day, putting further stress
on staff to collect fees from families who
simply do not have the money.
The crèche is therefore caught in a difficult
and very upsetting position, as it does not
want to turn away any families if they can’t
pay these fees.
The East Arnhem Regional Council relies
on grant funding to meet 95 per cent of
the funding needed to operate the centres;
families simply do not have a capacity to
pay. The real costs to operate the service is
not met by existing BBF funding, leaving
the regional council and childcare centre
staff in a very difficult position of not
being able to meet the immediate need of
the community for culturally-appropriate,
accessible, early childhood services.
It is estimated that an additional $250,000
in funding is required per annum to run
the services.
SNAICC calls for a long-term
plan for early years services
SNAICC has been conducting research,
consulting with services and lobbying
the Australian Government over
the past 18 months to confirm
sustainable and adequate funding
for integrated community-controlled
children and family services for
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
children across Australia.
SNAICC has called on the Australian
Government to commit to a 10-year
plan for integrated child and family
services for our children and families.
The plan would:
• support demonstrated evidence-based
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
services currently funded under the
Budget Based Funding (BBF) program
• support the 38 Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Children and Family
Centres (ACFCs), and
• establish at least 40 new services in
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
communities every three years.
SNAICC is lobbying senior government
ministers to secure the long-term future of
services, including postcards from services
and a letter to the Prime Minister.
To find out how you can be involved in our
campaign, go to: www.snaicc.org.au
building stronger communities
Yarrabah PCYC,
Yarrabah, North Qld
Yarrabah PCYC opened in 1998 and
is an integral part of the Yarrabah
Aboriginal community, located near
Cairns.
Yarrabah PCYC provides a safe and
supervised area for play, interesting
activities and programs. It is the only
regular after-school care, weekend
and holiday service available in the
community. All staff members at Yarrabah
are local, known to the community and
trusted to provide engaging and positive
outcomes for those attending the service.
Six Aboriginal staff are employed at
Yarrabah, including a Community
Engagement Officer and an Indigenous
Community Sports and Recreation Officer,
who are responsible for the development,
planning and implementing of community
activities.
Over the past year, community members
have participated in activities and
programs at Yarrabah approximately
11,000 times, with all attendees
Aboriginal and-or Torres Strait Islander.
Yarrabah PCYC has a range of valuable
programs and activities available to the
local community. The service provides a
licensed and accredited Outside School
Hours Care (OSHC) program that runs
until 6pm each weeknight, and from
6pm to 9pm the service provides evening
activities.
Activities and programs available at
Yarrabah include:
• Kulcha Klub — an activity based
program where elders and youth/
children make artefacts, paintings,
photo frames, mirrors, clocks etc for
sale at local markets.
• Kickin’ Habitz — a program for
disengaged youth/children who
congregate in the mission/park areas
of the community. The program aims
to divert children and youth away
from trouble, that they may wind
up being in because of boredom,
and into healthy habits of sport and
recreation, by using a combination of
positive reinforcement, active play and
interesting activities.
• Footprints in the Sand — a family camp
providing local families the opportunity
to escape the daily grind of community
life for a day or two, and have fun,
relax, have a yarn around the campfire,
and participate in activities such as
fishing and hunting. Over the past year,
68 youth and 11 families were attracted
to the Footprints in the Sand camp,
which would have otherwise not have
been engaged with PCYC activities.
The service has an 11-seat commuter bus
to support children, youth and families
with attendance and getting home at the
conclusion of the activities.
Yarrabah provides basic first aid for
participants, and refers children and
families to the local primary health care
centre if required. Over the past year,
three attending children have been
identified as being in an out-of-home care
placement. However, it is estimated that
approximately 20 per cent of all attending
children do not live with their biological
parents. Referrals to child protection are
made by staff if they are concerned about
neglect or abuse of a child.
Yarrabah is licensed to hold 150 children
for after school care and 180 children
for vacation care. The current budget for
Yarrabah is estimated at $160,000 for
both services. Wages, superannuation,
holiday pay use approximately $100,000
of this, while administrative costs take
$16,000. This only leaves $44,000 to run
and maintain the bus, provide a healthy
afternoon tea, buy resources, provide
repairs and maintenance to the service
premises and resources.
Furthermore, the service will shortly
commence paying the local council for
rent and service charges in order to stay
on its current premises — with this cost
estimated to be $20,000, before any other
charges or fees are deducted.
The current budget of $160,000 only
allows for the employment of three
childcare workers. Legislative staff/child
ratios stipulate that one staff member
must be provided for every 15 children.
Thus, at any one time, the program can
only work with 45 children — a significant
reduction in capacity compared with the
number of children the service is licensed
to work with, and limiting the service’s
capacity to support all children in the
community.
snaicc news February 2014 13
LEFT and ABOVE: Participants
at the forum, which was held at
Charles Darwin University.
Forum looks for answers on major child
protection issues in the Northern Territory
A forum held in Darwin in midNovember identified the creation of
an Aboriginal Child Care Agency as
an urgent initiative to improve the
protection and wellbeing of Aboriginal
children in the Northern Territory and
reduce the number of children being
placed in out-of-home care.
The Family Matters forum, held at Charles
Darwin University and attended by over
140 participants from the child welfare
sector, also:
• identified the child protection
system’s lack of cultural understanding
and failure to engage with vulnerable
Aboriginal families as major issues,
and called for improved cultural
competence of child welfare workers
and greater participation by Aboriginal
people in child protection decisionmaking processes
• urged for greater emphasis on
prevention and early intervention
programs, calling on the NT
Government to boost integrated
support services to keep more
vulnerable families together.
The Northern Territory Children’s
Commissioner Howard Bath opened the
forum, followed by a panel of speakers.
SNAICC Chairperson Sharron Williams
facilitated the panel and the speakers
included John Paterson, CEO Aboriginal
Medical Services Alliance Northern
Territory; Angela Webb, CEO of Absec NSW;
and Jane Wilson, acting CEO of SAF,T.
The forum was told the number of
Aboriginal children in out-of-home care
in the NT has tripled in the past 10 years,
14
snaicc news February 2014
with the child protection system unable
to cope.
Participants condemned the high number
of children being removed from their
families before every possible effort was
made to support vulnerable families
to stay together. Participants said this
situation was unacceptable and must stop.
They said if removal was unavoidable,
every effort should be made to keep
supporting families, until reunification
was possible.
A number of Aboriginal participants
shared moving personal experiences,
expressing despair that children were
still being removed from their families in
such high numbers and without adequate
consultation, a practice that had spanned
a number of generations.
Participants called for the urgent
establishment of an Aboriginal Child
Care Agency to deliver integrated family
support services, manage cases case
and placements, drive the recruitment
of foster carers, as well as provide more
support for children in out-of-home care
and family reunification services.
The NT Minister for Children and Families
Hon John Elferink, who closed the
forum, said he would consider proposals
to establish a community-controlled
Aboriginal Child Care Agency.
The need to improve cultural competence
was also prominent in discussions,
particularly cultural differences between
child care workers and Aboriginal families
over the definition of neglect, which had
seen children being removed from families
in disputed circumstances.
Figures reveal alarming
situation in the NT
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
children (aged 0-17) make up 44 per
cent of the child population in the
Northern Territory — yet comprise 82
per cent of all children on care and
protection orders.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
children in the NT are six times more
likely to be in out-of-home care than
non-Aboriginal children.
The most common type of
substantiated child protection
notification for Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander children is neglect.
While neglect is not well defined, it is
strongly associated with Indigenous
disadvantage and poverty.
Sixty-two per cent of Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander out-of-home care
placements were with non-Indigenous
families — the highest non-preferred
placement rate in Australia.
— from SNAICC NT Issues Paper
A number of other measures were
identified at the forum to reduce the
contact between vulnerable children and
families and the child protection and
juvenile justice systems (see panel on
opposite page).
SNAICC Chairperson Sharron Williams
said the current child protection system
was failing to support vulnerable families
and the situation would only get worse if
different approaches were not taken.
Continued on next page
ABOVE: Forum participants Dianne Stokes (left) and Karen Woodley.
It was at the forum that the women found out they were related.
RIGHT: A workshop meets to discuss issues.
“The NT Minister for Children and Families,
John Elferink attended the forum and said
he would listen to proposals. The forum
certainly identified a number of practical
measures for his government, as well as
for NGOs and SNAICC, that need to be
considered and acted on as a matter of
urgency,” Ms Williams said.
“The NT Government must invest more
in providing integrated services to keep
families and communities together and
give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
families, organisations and communities
more say and more responsibility to deliver
solutions at the local level.”
A community-based working group of
forum participants has been established
to progress recommendations arising from
the forum. The working group comprises
Natalie Hunter, Nancy Jeffrey from Save
the Children, Sarina Jan from Sarjan
Consultancies and Trista Cocker from
NAPCAN.
The Darwin forum was developed and
delivered by SNAICC in partnership with
the Northern Territory Council of Social
Service (NTCOSS) and Strong Aboriginal
Families, Together (SAF,T).
It was the first in a national series of
forums under an initiative titled Family
Matters — Kids safe in culture, not in
care, which aims to halve the number
of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
children in out-of-home care by 2018.
The national initiative is being led by
SNAICC in partnership with a number of
other peak/national agencies in the child
welfare sector.
For more information on the initiative,
contact Gemma Unwin on (03) 9489 8099.
The report on the Darwin forum
discussions (and an NT issues paper
developed for the forum) can be found at
www.snaicc.org.au/news-events.
Main recommendations
Darwin Forum, 14 November 2013
For NT government
Change the rules of removal and ensure there are clear policy procedures, for
example:
• unless there is imminent risk of violence, children should not be taken away
• police should never accompany child protection workers when removing a child
unless there is a risk of or demonstrated history of domestic violence
• when an intake does have to occur, implement family reunification strategies.
Increase the number of kinship carers through:
• reviewing the assessment procedures to make it easier to qualify (i.e. medical)
• increasing the level of resourcing for the recruitment of kinship carers
• establishing a team of Aboriginal workers to focus on placements in kinship care.
Establish and implement models of child protection decision-making, which
involve Aboriginal peoples in all tiers of discussion and decision-making, including
investigation processes; case planning; cultural care plans; family genograms and
case reviews.
Educate non-Aboriginal workers in cultural competency and introduce trauma
informed practice and therapeutic care in the way the department works with
Aboriginal people.
Redistribute funding from child removal to preventative measures such as Families as
First Teachers program for 0–5 years across the Northern Territory.
For non-government sector
Establish a community-controlled AICCA, which should become the driving force in
child protection in the Northern Territory.
Develop and fund the implementation of an overarching healing framework, and
healing strategy for the community.
Encourage and support community initiatives to create a safe place to talk about
raising and caring for children.
Encourage a community development approach to service provision, which includes
skill sharing, collaboration and the establishment of “one-stop” service centres in
remote communities.
For SNAICC
Establish a community-based working group comprising participants at the
Family Matters Darwin Forum and key stakeholders to progress resolutions and
recommendations arising from the forum.
Meet with the NT Minister for Children and Families to discuss forum outcomes and
increased adherence to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement
Principle.
snaicc news February 2014 15
Intensive programs: supporting
vulnerable families to stay together
Townsville Aboriginal and Islander
Health Services (TAIHS) is an
Indigenous community-controlled and
managed corporation that provides a
holistic primary health care service.
TAIHS delivers a range of health and
community services, including child
safety and early intervention family
programs.
The TAIHS Family Intervention Services
(or FIS) supports clients of Child Safety
Service Centres — part of the Queensland
Department of Communities — where
ongoing intervention with a family is
required by Child Safety Services.
The objective is to preserve families
by having the child remain living at
home under ongoing intervention and
monitoring by Child Safety Services. FIS
also assists in the reunification of children
in an out-of-home care placement with
their family, where it is determined to be
in the best interests of the child.
The service is offered to clients residing
in the Townsville, Aitkenvale and
Thuringowa catchment areas. The program
aims to:
• increase the protective factors for the
family and child (age unborn to 17
years)
• improve attachment between the
child and parent and result in the
family exiting the child protection
system with improved skills and
parenting ability, the child feeling
and experiencing greater security
and stability, including a reduction in
safety concerns, and
• avoid future contact with Child Safety
Services by providing evidence that
enhanced caring and parenting skills
and knowledge have been achieved and
practiced by caregivers.
Continued on next page
16
snaicc news February 2014
ABOVE: The team at Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Services (from left):
Lorraine Ross, Vera Prentice, Shakira Quakawoot, Anna Brylska and Rhonda Cole.
SNAICC is conducting research, in partnership with Griffith University and
five identified good practice Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Intensive
and Targeted Family Support Services (IFSS/TFSS), to better understand
and document the factors that contribute to these services achieving
sustainable outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and
children facing multiple adversities in diverse settings across the country.
The joint project is exploring the effectiveness of IFSS/TFSS as a strategy
to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
children in out-of-home care. It is funded by the National Research Agenda for
Protecting Children 2011–14.
The project comprises of an evaluation of these services, which are being
delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled and
led organisations in diverse locations (remote, rural and urban) across the five
sites.
The aim is to examine the similarities and differences across the sites, focusing
on engagement of families with complex needs, and ensuring the voices of
children and young people are heard so that their specific needs are addressed.
The project’s findings will help build the evidence base about effective
programs and practices for meeting the needs of vulnerable Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander families.
The two-year project will be completed by December 2014. The five stateterritory funded IFSS/TFSS providers participating in the project are in
Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and the Northern Territory. On these
pages, we profile two of the services: Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health
Services Family Intervention Services QLD; and BAIFBS — Bungree Aboriginal
Intensive Family Based Service at Wyong, NSW.
For more information about the project, titled Moving to Prevention — Exploring
outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children through Intensive and
Targeted Family Support Services, contact Jo Borg, Senior Resource Services
Project Officer at [email protected] or (03) 9489 8099.
The service works in partnership with
families, children, Child Safety Service
Centres, informal supports to the family
and other support services in order to
achieve its aims.
The case plan goal for working with
families is reunification within 12
months, or where there is support for
the parent(s) with a child living at home
under a Child Protection Order. The
length of the service provided to families
is usually up to 12 months but can be up
to 18 months.
The five core functions of the program
are to participate in departmental case
planning processes, develop practical
skills for parents, supervising contact
between parents and their child, casework activities (such as counselling,
family therapy, and developing family/
household management skills) and input
to permanency planning decisions. The
program works with 10-12 families a year
per worker.
The TAIHS FIS program is staffed by a
manager and four Aboriginal and Islander
caseworkers. Referrals to the program
come from Child Safety Services, with the
purpose of preserving or restoring the
family.
Given the over-representation of
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
children in the child protection system,
it is essential that the program addresses
the personal, cultural and spiritual
wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
islander children and their parents/
family members within appropriate
cultural models of support.
The unique features of the FIS program
allows for flexibility and cultural
considerations such as potential conflict
of interests (for example, staff working
with clients they are related to), and the
cultural appropriateness of child safety
assessments of client families. Reviews
are conducted throughout the case
lifetime, in conjunction with the family.
Bungree Aboriginal Association
Incorporated is an Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander communitycontrolled and managed organisation
based at Toukley on the NSW central
coast. The agency provides a range
of health and community services,
including housing, HACC, disability
services, emergency relief, and youth
services within the Gosford and
Wyong local government areas.
The Bungree Aboriginal Intensive
Family Based Service (BAIFBS) at
nearby Wyong provides an intensive,
time-limited, home-based program for
Aboriginal families living in the Wyong
shire. These families are in crisis, which
sometimes includes extended family
members. Children in these families are
at risk of entering an out-of-home care
placement due to protective concerns
of the NSW Department of Family and
Community Services (FaCS).
Referrals to Bungree IFBS can only be
made by Wyong and Lakes Community
Services Centre (FaCS) if they are at risk
of entering care, or if a child or young
person is returning home after being in
an out-of-home-care placement.
The program is managed by Belinda
Field, and employs four Aboriginal
caseworkers who use strengths-based
family group conferencing to engage
families in decision making and to
implement the principles of Aboriginal
self-determination. The primary goal is
to stabilise families so that Aboriginal
children can stay at home with their
family and community in a safe,
stable and nurturing environment,
preventing potential out-of-home care
placements and improving child safety
and wellbeing.
Bungree has provided support for
60 local families — many of which
are experiencing inter-generational
trauma — since it began operations in
July 2011. The IFBS helps with issues
identified by FaCS, including ‘neglect’
type concerns — which, once IFBS
assessed the families, were found to be
secondary issues and mostly resolved
with some financial assistance.
Within the first 12 months of operation,
approximately eight out of 12 referrals
(or 20 children) were prevented from
entering the out-of-home care system
or being placed outside of family.
The service aims to build on family
skills, identify strengths, maintain
and strengthen family bonds and
re-establish family, community and
cultural ties.
Families are provided with intensive
services over a 12-week period,
generally prior to court proceedings.
Caseworkers visit the family every day
for the first four weeks of the service
commencing. After this, contact occurs
for 5–20 hours per week. An afterhours emergency service is available
to families throughout the 12 weeks of
service.
Once the 12 weeks are completed,
families are offered a ‘step-down’
worker for up to six months, which
involves less intensive engagement, but
continues with the work undertaken in
the initial period with the family.
BELOW: Staff at the Bungree Aboriginal Intensive Family Based Service at Wyong (from left):
Tyson Adams, Kristy Waters, Jamie Wheeler, Kiaya Leonard, Breannon Field and Alydia Strike.
Most families are Aboriginal but the
program also supports a very significant
Torres Strait Islander population. The
program is sensitive to historical and
cultural issues, such as oppression, grief
and loss, family conflict and depression.
The disconnection from community is
also evident in many FIS families, so
part of their role is to connect people to
community.
snaicc news February 2014
17
Joint Statement from Congress member organisations
on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to
Child Sexual Abuse
The absence of specific mention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Peoples, or acknowledgement of the traumatic history
of our Peoples’ involvement with institutions in the Royal
Commission’s Terms of Reference is a major concern.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples expect to see genuine,
lasting and significant change as a result of the Royal Commission into
Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Stories of
our peoples
must not be
overlooked
by Royal
Commission
Member organisations of the
National Congress of Australia’s
First Peoples met in Sydney on
26 November for round-table
discussions on important issues
relating to the Royal Commission
into Institutional Responses to Child
Sexual Abuse. The meeting was
coordinated by National Congress to
discuss Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander contributions to the Royal
Commission.
As a result of this meeting, some of
Australia’s key Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander organisations have
called on the Royal Commission for
greater recognition of, and support
for, Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander peoples’ involvement in the
Commission.
Congress, along with member
organisations the National Stolen
Generations Alliance, First Peoples
Disability Network Australia, National
Family Violence Prevention Legal
Services Forum and SNAICC, urged
Commissioners to recognise and
acknowledge our peoples and our
history to ensure real change for the
future of our children.
18
snaicc news February 2014
A large number of recommendations of the Bringing Them Home inquiry have not
been implemented. It is critical that this Royal Commission focus on changing the
conditions that led to this abuse occurring and ensuring protection for children in
the future.
We send a strong and united message to Commissioners that bearing witness to our
Peoples’ stories is valuable but achieving real change is more important.
The Roundtable agreed on the following principles that the Commission should
consider in its deliberations:
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a long history of contact with
Australia’s institutions which must be recognised by the Commission.
• The stories of our peoples must not be overlooked; their experiences must
contribute to the findings of the inquiry.
• The Commission must engage broadly and appropriately with our communities,
taking into account the cultural and social aspects of our peoples in order to
engage effectively.
• It is critical that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are offered
culturally appropriate, competent support before, during and after the inquiry.
• The Commission should fund research and support our organisations to provide
relevant policy information and expertise.
Our peoples are being asked to talk about experiences of the abuse. They need to be
confident that telling their stories will lead to reforms in policy, systems, attitudes,
resources and service delivery.
Our organisations are best placed to deliver these services yet when the Government
provided funding for support services it only went to large mainstream nonAboriginal NGOs.
Staff from the Commission visited our Roundtable today and praised the Stolen
Generations organisations they had worked with in the Kimberley for their role
supporting community members to come before the Commission. This and many
other services around the country need more resources to do their work.
The meeting calls upon the Government to immediately provide adequate funding to
Aboriginal community-controlled organisations to provide much needed services to
meet current demand across states and territories.
Our Peoples were removed from their families and locked up in institutions with
major trans-generational consequences for the individuals involved, their families,
their children and whole communities.
Still today our Peoples are massively over-represented in out-of-home care, juvenile
justice and gaol.
It is essential that the Commissioners support our Peoples to tell their stories; listen
to our people’s experiences; and ensure their recommendations reflect the issues
and concerns we raise.
National Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander
Children’s Day
4 August 2014
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Children’s Day on 4 August
is fast approaching. And this year it’s
all about celebrating our kids and the
power of their connection to culture.
We are delighted to share with you this
year’s theme for National Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Children’s
Day (NATSICD): Kids in Culture — Strong,
Proud, Resilient.
We want to work with you to make sure
this year’s children’s day is the biggest
and most successful yet.
This aim of this year’s theme is to:
• celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander children, their strengths and
their connections to culture
• draw attention to the wellbeing and
protection of Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander children and highlight
the crucial role that culture plays in
keeping children safe.
The messages around the day will be
linked to SNAICC’s Family Matters
national initiative, which is focused on
turning around the over-representation
of our children in the child protection
system. We will also use the day to
promote the core importance of culture
for our children’s wellbeing.
SNAICC is also very excited to announce
that this year Children’s Day will be
launched at the Garma Festival in the
remote Gulkula, a traditional meeting
ground in Arnhem Land. Garma Festival
is Australia’s leading cultural exchange
event and promises to bring lots of
attention and festivities to National
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Children’s Day.
A change of name
National Aboriginal and Islander
Children’s Day has been held on
4 August each year since 1988
to celebrate the importance
of our children to families and
communities.
Following a decision from the
SNAICC National Executive,
the day will now be known as
National Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Children’s Day
(NATSICD).
The name was changed to
recognise more specifically
children and families from the
Torres Strait.
As you know, however, NATSICD is about
far more than the national launch. It’s
about celebrating your kids in your
community in your way.
That’s why this year we will be making
a big effort to provide you with the
resources and inspiration you need to get
your community celebrations happening.
We’ll also be providing a space for
everyone to come together to discuss
these issues and work towards building
improved mutual understanding that can
allow change to happen.
As always we’ll be sending children’s day
bags and special resources all around the
country to help you celebrate. These will
be ready to order from June, so keep your
eyes open for updates.
2014 NATSICD
theme:
Kids in
Culture —
Strong,
Proud,
Resilient.
Stay tuned to the SNAICC e-bulletin and
visit our website — www.snaicc.org.au —
for more details.
So start planning for your own
celebrations this year. And help us put
culture right where it belongs —front and
centre.
If your organisation is interested
in partnering or sponsoring this
year’s celebrations please contact
[email protected]
snaicc news February 2014 19
An innovative program developed by
Macquarie University aims to help close
the gap on numeracy achievements of
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
children in NSW and the ACT.
The numeracy program, The Patterns
and Early Algebra (PEAP) Personal
Development (PD) Program, was
designed to advance young Indigenous
children’s mathematical thinking and
reasoning, and develop the mathematical
and teaching skills of early childhood
educators.
Children who participate in the
program are encouraged to further
their understanding of mathematics by
working through various fun activities
— identifying, copying, drawing, and
creating various patterns from items
ranging from blocks and tiles to shells and
pebbles.
Heading the project is Dr Marina
Papic, Director of the Children and
Families Research Centre, who oversaw
implementation of PEAP PD Program as
a pilot program in 15 early childhood
services — primarily Aboriginal
community-controlled early childhood
education and care (ECEC) services —
across New South Wales and the ACT from
2011 to 2013, engaging 66 early childhood
educators and 255 children aged between
four and five years.
“The program, while developing broader
mathematical thinking and reasoning
skills, focused specifically on developing
children’s patterning skills,” Dr Papic
said. “Research shows that early
development of pattern and structure
positively influences overall mathematical
achievement.”
An equal focus was placed on developing
the knowledge and skills of early childhood educators. This was achieved by:
• addressing any fears and apprehensions
educators had towards mathematics
• increasing their awareness of the
importance of mathematics learning in
the early years, as well as the important
role they play in developing children’s
mathematical knowledge, thinking and
problem solving skills, and
• supporting educators to confidently
create learning opportunities where
children can explore and develop
their mathematical skills and
understanding.
20
snaicc news February 2014
LEFT: Andrew
and Nathan,
both aged four,
play with blocks
as part of the
maths project at
Birrelee MACS in
Tamworth.
New maths program a
plus for young children
Birrelee MACS Child Care Centre in
Tamworth, NSW, was one of 15 child care
services that participated in the initial
trial, in which staff undertook intensive
training workshops before implementing
the patterning activities and
documenting the children’s engagement
with mathematics in play.
Louise Cave, Director at Birrelee, says the
mathematical thinking of the children
“soared” as a result of the trial, with
children loving the activities, particularly
as many were connected to Aboriginal
culture and images.
Louise said Birrelee was so impressed
with the trial results, the centre has
developed a program so that parents can
engage children to do the activities at
home.
Overall results from Dr Papic’s program,
in which early childhood educators
documented children’s mathematical
learning over a 12-week period, indicates
the method had a positive impact on
children’s mathematical development.
The early childhood educators
highlighted an increase in children’s
range of mathematical skills, including:
number, counting, subitising, addition,
subtraction, multiplication, comparison,
and measurement. Children were also
acknowledged for their well-developed
patterning skills.
Furthermore, kindergarten teachers,
who were interviewed the year after the
program was implemented when the
children commenced formal schooling,
commented that children displayed
confidence in the classroom, were happy
and settled, were actively engaged and
participated in activities, and that some of
the children exemplified leadership in the
classroom.
“Research shows that the quality
and quantity of early mathematical
experiences are the main factors in
determining future mathematical
success,” Dr Papic said.
Dr Papic has considered the results of
several related studies, and is certain
that without action children with limited
mathematical knowledge — many of whom
are from low socio-economic areas and
with disadvantaged backgrounds — are
likely to remain low achievers, and even
see the gap between themselves and their
peers widen.
“The Patterns and Early Algebra Preschool
Professional Development Program works
towards closing the gap in numeracy
achievement for children from low
socio-economic and disadvantaged
backgrounds,” Dr Papic said.
Following the success of the project Dr
Papic and her research team are currently
in discussion with various organisations
from across the country, with an aim to
deliver the PEAP PD Program in other
states.
For more information on the PEAP
Program, contact Dr Papic at:
[email protected]
Meet two of our new members...
ABOVE: Staff at Waminda proudly display the NAIDOC Aboriginal Organisation of
the Year Award. RIGHT: A playgroup run by Waminda, one of the many programs
provided by the corporation.
The South Coast Women’s Health
and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation,
Waminda, provides culturally sensitive
care to Aboriginal women and their
families in the Shoalhaven district of
New South Wales.
Waminda
Nowra, NSW
Waminda, located at Nowra, on the NSW
south coast, was established in 1990,
born out of necessity due to the lack of
available services for Aboriginal women
and their families in the area.
A key aspect of the Waminda philosophy
is to work with the family as a whole,
understanding that women and their
Aboriginal families have complex needs,
requiring a culturally safe and holistic
service when it comes to matters of health
and wellbeing.
Waminda strives to provide tailored,
strength-based care, aiming to reduce the
high rate of ill health among women and
their Aboriginal families in its region,
and support and strengthen women and
families to make informed decisions
about their own health and wellbeing.
Waminda has become a full member of
SNAICC to be a part of a peak organisation
that is representative of a large part of
the community with which they work.
The service continues to raise its profile,
hoping to provide services to more
Aboriginal women and families in need.
Ouyen Preschool is a kindergarten
located in the Mallee district of northwest Victoria, roughly 100kms south of
Mildura and 100kms west of Swan Hill.
Ouyen Preschool
Ouyen, Victoria
The kindergarten boasts proud
connections to both the community and
the environment. One way in which the
centre has been able to interact with the
community is through their dedicated
blog, Tales from the Sandpit, which can be
found at: ouyenkinder.edublogs.org
Waminda lays claim to being the only
Aboriginal women’s health and welfare
service in Australia. It provides a vast
variety of programs, ranging from the
Aboriginal Cancer Care Project, and the
Aboriginal Family Support Program,
to the New Directions: Mums and Bubs
Program.
In 2012 the staff at Waminda were
recognised for their hard work within the
region, receiving the NAIDOC Aboriginal
Organisation of the Year Award. The
centre was selected ahead of nominees
across Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama,
Shoalhaven and Wingecarribee.
For more information visit:
www.waminda.org.au
She received the Department of Education
and Early Childhood Development Award
as recognition for her work in the areas
of literacy, technology, and
Indigenous education.
Louise believes that by
becoming a member the centre
will not only benefit through
the information SNAICC
provides, but also through
joining the nation-wide
community.
The kindergarten has been running for
43 years, established by parents and
other volunteers whose passion and
commitment has been key to the centre’s
survival and success.
ABOVE: Children enjoy a bit of ‘fishing’ at
Ouyen Preschool.
This year Ouyen Preschool has 18 children
enrolled, ranging from 3 to 5 years old,
who are looked after by just two staff
members: Bev Cummings, the centre’s coeducator, and Louise Fitzpatrick Leach.
Louise, centre manager and teacher at
Ouyen Preschool, was the 2013 Victorian
Teachers Mutual Bank Early Childhood
Teacher of the Year.
“We joined SNAICC because
we wanted to access reliable
information and educational
resources about Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander peoples,” Louise said.
“We wanted to learn from the wider
Indigenous community and from other
children’s services working towards
reconciliation.”
snaicc news February 2014 21
Tasmanian ACFCs win awards
in attendance and approximately 100
entrants competing.
The Tagari lia Aboriginal Child and Family
Centre, located approximately 20 kms
north of Hobart at Bridgewater along
the River Derwent was recognised for
its space, environment, and facilities,
receiving a state award for building
design.
Tagari lia, Bridgewater LINC and Child
& Family Centre was awarded the Alan
C Walker Award for Public Architecture
— placing ahead of a strong field of
nominees — at the Australian Institute of
Architects’ 2013 Tasmanian Architecture
Awards.
ABOVE: The annual Billy Cart Derby at Geeveston is one of the activities for which
Wayraparattee Child and Family Centre has been recognised with an award.
Two Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Children and Family Centres
(ACFCs) in Tasmania have recently been
recognised with several awards.
received a Certificate of Excellence,
having been nominated for his highlyvalued cultural contribution to the life of
the Geeveston community.
The Wayraparattee Child and Family Centre
in Geeveston received multiple awards at
the Keep Australia Beautiful Tasmanian
Sustainable Communities Awards.
“To my surprise they don’t only award
certificates to the most tidy town — the
awards cover a range of programs that
actually make the town a better place to
live,” Leigh said.
The Sustainable Communities Awards
welcome submissions from across
the state, with categories including
Clean Beaches, Sustainable Schools,
Sustainable Cities, and Tidy Towns.
Located some 60 kms south-west of
Hobart, amongst a stretch of communities
located along the Huon River system,
Wayraparattee was acknowledged for its
achievements in the area through four
separate awards.
One such event singled out for
acknowledgement with a Certificate of
Excellence in the Health and Wellbeing
category was the Wayraparattee Billy
Cart Derby — an outstanding event
that brought parents and kids closer
together. The annual event celebrated its
third year in 2013, with over 500 people
A Keep Australia Beautiful representative
visited the town, talking to schools,
community groups, and other
organisations before finalising their list of
award winners.
Among the individual award winners
was Anna Jones, Centre Leader at
Wayraparattee, who was recognised for
her community-driven, caring role in
the creation of Wayraparattee with a
Certificate of Excellence.
Leigh Oates, who works directly with
the child and family centre in his role
as a Community Inclusion Worker, also
22
snaicc news February 2014
The prestigious award was fitting
recognition for the sublime work of
Liminal Architecture — the company
responsible for the project. Liminal
embraced the ideas of the community
and this resulted in an earthy, warm, and
home like children’s play space. As well
as Tagari lia, LINC and Service Tasmania
are co-located within the building. The
win also saw the building in contention
for a national award at the 2103 National
Architecture Awards in Sydney.
Tagari lia is the Tasmanian Aboriginal
word for “family” and a significant
proportion of Aboriginal families chose
to come to Tagari lia Aboriginal Child
and Family Centre. The centre’s vision
is “Strong Proud Place” and is proving
to be a focal point for families to meet,
share and learn about education, health
and wellbeing. The Aboriginal Child and
Family Centre caters for children from
birth to 8 years and is an important point
of entry into the five primary schools
within the local area.
BELOW: The award-winning building that hosts Tagari lia Aboriginal Child
and Family Centre, which has become a focal point for families at Bridgewater.
(Photo courtesy of Jonathan Wherrett.)
Well, it was a sad end to the year with the
departure of Bec Boss from the training
team. Bec has relocated with her partner
to WA to work with Yorgum Aboriginal
Corporation as a social worker. Good
luck Bec and thank you for all your great
work at SNAICC.
Over the past six months, Bec and myself
have delivered training — including
Through Young Black Eyes “train the
trainer” workshops — in Bundaberg
and Rockhampton (Qld); and Kariong,
Bankstown, Dubbo, Walgett, Forbes,
Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Dareton and
Narrandera (NSW).
We have had the opportunity to not only
build the capacity of Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander children and family
services, but to also enjoy beautiful
country and networking with committed
and passionate participants. Below are
some comments about the two-day “train
the trainer” course from past participants:
• “The best facilitator resource I have
ever seen. So easy to use and so much
useful content.” Participant, Kariong,
NSW
• “This workshop has given me more
understanding, confidence and also
meeting facilitators who were great.
I have drawn strength from both of
them.” Participant Forbes, NSW
ABOVE: Nat Loadsman,
Training Officer
SNAICC
training
update
the training calendar and liaises with
stakeholders regarding current and
future training, and conducts follow-up
evaluations and support and then some.
In 2014 we are excited to be piloting a
range of new training packages, while
continuing to deliver the popular Through
Young Black Eyes train-the-trainer
workshop.
The five new training packages will include
workshops around trauma and self care,
intensive family support service delivery,
transition to school, and building genuine
partnerships between Indigenous and
non-Indigenous services. The workshops
will utilise extensive research done on best
practice examples Australia-wide, and will
be delivered around brand new SNAICC
resources.
• “Fantastic, interactive, informative,
down to earth, excellent...need more of
it.” Participant, Rockhampton, Qld.
In the next few months, our team has
a busy schedule, delivering training in
NSW (Cooma, Narooma, Kempsey, Ballina
and Kariong), Brisbane, Darwin, Broome,
Adelaide and Hobart. Places are filling
fast, so contact SNAICC to register (see
contact details below).
Our National Training Support Officer,
Grace Brown, continues to be a major
asset for the team. Grace coordinates
Vina Duplock has been recruited to replace
Bec on the training team. Vina commenced
on 3 February and has extensive
• “Nat sharing his story was refreshing
and inspirational, especially from a male
perspective. A positive role model.”
Participant, Forbes, NSW
RIGHT: Training
Coordinator
Bec Boss has
left SNAICC and
moved to WA.
experience in delivering accredited and
non-accredited training to Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander groups in Cairns and
the Cape York Peninsula. Welcome to the
team, Vina!
SNAICC has trained over 300 people across
the country on how to use the ‘TYBE’ Kit!
This is just “TOO DEADLY!” and I would
like to acknowledge every participant who
has attended our workshops for all their
hard work, commitment and dedication
to create sustainable change and improve
the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander children and families.
We need to continue this valuable work
and I am privileged and humbled to have
the opportunity to do so!
Until next time...Stay Fire Strong!
Nat Loadsman
www.snaicc.org.au
relevant organisations for current information
concerning their activities.
SNAICC News is the quarterly newsletter of
the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and
Islander Child Care Inc.
© SNAICC 2014. Copyright for images
and text published is retained by SNAICC,
unless specified otherwise. Please seek
permission from SNAICC before reproducing
information published here. While SNAICC
makes an effort to ensure the information
published herein is correct at the time
of printing, readers should contact the
Line art by Ikanbala (Richard McLean).
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snaicc news February 2014 23
We need a strong voice to
continue to do our work.
Yours.
For the past 30 years, SNAICC has worked with and on behalf of
its members to see real change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander children and families.
SNAICC has been a key player on many of the major issues that
impact on the protection and wellbeing of our children and families
— for example, the high number of children in out-of-home care.
SNAICC has also advocated on the need for improved access to
community-controlled and culturally-appropriate early childhood
education and care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
children.
Since 2004, SNAICC has produced high-quality cultural and
educational resources to assist those working with Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander children and families across Australia.
In recent years, we have increased our training activities, delivering
workshops on important issues such as family violence and child
abuse to support capacity building in Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander communities and organisations.
SNAICC has also looked to diversify its funding sources by securing
grants from the philanthropic sector.
To continue to be a passionate advocate for the needs and rights
of our children and families — and to continue to have an impact
in the child welfare sector — SNAICC needs a strong and vibrant
membership base.
We need more members to be our partners, to inform our policy and
advocacy work and contribute to the resources SNAICC produces.
SNAICC has five levels of membership to cater for Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations (both
large and small), other agencies in the child welfare sector, and
interested individuals.
Contact the SNAICC Membership Officer Sandy Barber on
03 9489 8099 for more information on our types of membership.
snaicc news February 2014
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