In the Read

Self-determination, community control, active efforts, partnerships – back to basics

The Family Matters National Week of Action is a timely reminder to revisit just some resources developed by Family MattersQATSICPP and SNAICC. Fundamentally these documents assert positions, strategies and bottom-lines to realise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination and address the disproportionate representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families in child and family service systems.

The Family Matters Report 2017 includes key statistics and commentary about over and under-representation as well as input from state and territory governments and peak and/or community-controlled organisations about efforts and progress.

QATSICPP’s Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Child Protection Definition and Standards was guided by community input and knowledge and endorsed by members. The definition and standards seek provide a framework to support children, families, communities and organisations to ensure their children are safe in culture and not in care; preserve the intent of community control as a concept and core mechanism for self-determination; and provide a clear, standardised definition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community control and community controlled services operating in a contemporary child and family wellbeing context.

QATSICPP’s Position statement on Aboriginal Kinship Care draws on the booklet about understanding and applying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle to contextualise the elements of the Child Placement Principle – prevention, participation, partnership, placement, connection – and set out changes needed in legislation, policy, programs, processes and practice to realise a new approach to Aboriginal Kinship Care in Queensland.

The paper refers to the Guidelines for Implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act which mandate the use of ‘active efforts’, defined as affirmative, active, thorough and timely efforts, to maintain or reunite an Indian child with their family. These are referenced because it is only through true active efforts that best practice will be realised for Aboriginal children.

SNAICC’s Opening Doors through Partnerships addresses some questions in unpacking partnership rhetoric to identify elements of genuine partnership development relating to the different stages of partnership development, operation and management; resources and practical support to enable genuine partnerships; and practical approaches that contribute to successful partnerships between community controlled and non-Indigenous services.

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