Aboriginal children and young people in the Hunter and South West Sydney areas who were shifted to guardianship orders from the out-of-home care system now have access to better support under the Aboriginal Guardianship Support Model initiative.
After reforms to the child protection system were introduced by the NSW Government in 2015 to promote permanency orders, the number of Aboriginal children moved onto guardianship orders has increased significantly each year.
These types of permanency orders were found to be inappropriate for Aboriginal children, resulting in more Aboriginal children being left without adequate support for their immediate and long-term needs.
AbSec has commissioned two Aboriginal organisations, Waranwarin Tharawal Child and Family Centre in South West Sydney and Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council in the Hunter, to deliver tailored supports, ensuring a more comprehensive response is provided to strengthen families and address factors affecting Aboriginal children growing up strong in community.
The new support model is an Aboriginal-led initiative and has been co-designed with guardians and carers of Aboriginal children, Aboriginal organisations and practitioners, community members and government partners under an innovative and collaborative approach to create better futures for those subject to guardianship.
Funding of $904,000 for each area has been provided by the NSW Government to support the implementation of a community hub and child and family support service for the hundreds of Aboriginal children who have not received sufficient support to prosper under guardianship.
Services commence in January 2022 and will operate for two years offering family support, goal planning, an information hub, referral and advice support, cultural and community connections and support, networking and advocacy support.
The trial of the support model will be evaluated by the Department of Communities and Justice, as will the Aboriginal-led commissioning approach to achieve better Aboriginal child and family outcomes.
AbSec CEO John Leha said, “AbSec is pleased to partner with the NSW Government to establish and trial a new model of support to improve the lives of Aboriginal children on guardianship. This support, delivered by Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, will ensure that Aboriginal children in the pilot areas will have access to the services they and their families need to thrive.”
“We hope this will be the first of many initiatives from the NSW Government that embrace an Aboriginal-led approach co-designed by the community. AbSec will continue to advocate for more early intervention and preventative approaches we know work for our communities, keeping Aboriginal children connected to kin, community and culture instead of being permanently separated.”
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