Working with community to develop an Aboriginal Guardianship Support Model for better outcomes.

AbSec is currently working with project partners and funders to trial a new model of support for Aboriginal children and young people on guardianship orders that has been co-designed with guardians, carers, community members, service practitioners and government partners.

Throughout 2020, AbSec worked towards addressing issues arising from the shift to guardianship orders and led a co-design process to develop the types of supports wanted by families in two selected areas in NSW.

The model for guardianship support seeks to establish a network of available services, supports and resources, to be delivered by Aboriginal community-controlled organisations to ensure that Aboriginal children on guardianship orders have access to the supports they and their families need to thrive.

The Aboriginal Guardianship Support Model is being trialled in the Hunter and South West Sydney from January 2022 through to December 2023. The service will be evaluated for possible expansion to other areas. Aboriginal children and young people on guardianship orders and their guardians in each area can seek support from the service providers. The service is free and participation is voluntary.

Service Providers

Two Aboriginal community-controlled service providers have been commissioned by AbSec to deliver the co-designed model of guardianship support:

  • South West Sydney – Waranwarin Tharawal Child and Family Centre
  • Hunter – Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council

The service providers are looking forward to welcoming children, young people, guardians and their families and are always happy to have a yarn. You can contact them on:

Guardians are encouraged to call the services providers directly for support.


Aboriginal Guardianship Support Model


In the design of the model, AbSec spoke with people who have been affected by the transition to guardianship orders, particularly those living in the Hunter and South West Sydney areas, as guardians have not been eligible for ongoing assistance and support from the Department of Communities and Justice or an out-of-home care agency to help them meet the long-term needs of a child or young person with a guardianship order.

People affected by the shift to guardianship orders are invited to talk to us at each stage of the process as part of:

  • A needs assessment: provides information on the social needs or issues related to the shift to guardianship orders and the criteria for prioritising needs to be addressed
  • Co-design of supports: combines lived experience and professional expertise to identify and create an outcome or product, in this case, supports to address needs arising from the shift to guardianship orders. The supports will be limited to what we can afford under the set budget
  • Design of procurement: engaging providers to deliver co-designed services
  • Reviewing the approach: learning from our experience

Community involvement

We will be involving the community in the commissioning process from beginning to end. Collective and collaborative planning processes using co-design are being implemented in trial sites in the Hunter and South West Sydney with Aboriginal children and families, as well as Aboriginal organisations, NGOs and associated agencies in a position to drive change based on the needs of those communities.

Information on the development of the Aboriginal Guardianship Support Model

For background information on the development of the model and this project, please see:

AbSec and guardianship orders

AbSec’s advocacy for an effective model of support provision for Aboriginal children and young people on guardianship orders does not alter AbSec’s opposition to these or other permanent care orders. It remains AbSec’s view that such orders inherently fail to safeguard Aboriginal children and young people in out-of-home care and do not promote their best interests, including their rights to safety, to family, to community, to culture and identity, and to ongoing support and periodic review of their placement and treatment.

A Guardianship Support Model reflects AbSec’s commitment to all Aboriginal children and young people, in recognition that there is a large cohort of Aboriginal children and young people affected by guardianship orders who may require additional supports that are not routinely available to this population group.

If you would like to talk to someone from AbSec about your experiences and get involved in this exciting community-led approach to providing supports, please contact our Aboriginal staff at AbSec on (02) 9559 5299 or email us at commissioning@absec.org.au.

Find out more about commissioning opportunities!

AbSec continues to work with Aboriginal communities and partners to explore ideas and co-design opportunities for investment to achieve better outcomes for Aboriginal children, families, communities and organisations.