This report is the product of roundtable events facilitated by WACOSS and the Noongar Family Safety and Wellbeing Council between April 2018 and May 2019, to build partnership between Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) and Community Service Organisations. The report details partnership values and practices to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
Between April 2018 and June 2019, The West Australian Council of Social Service (WACOSS) and the Noongar Family Safety and Wellbeing Council (NFSWC), held a series of roundtables about partnerships between Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) and Community Service Organisations (CSOs).
The purpose of the roundtables was to develop partnership values and practices to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families and to better understand the systemic, cultural and inter-agency reasons why the potential of partnership with ACCOs has not been fully realised in WA. The project sought to articulate the rationale for improved engagement between ACCOs, CSOs and public sector agencies, and to identify common ground in our commitment to improving the lives of Aboriginal people.
Attendance was dominated by services involved in the children and family services sector, particularly Out of Home Care (OOHC) and child protection, including the Department of Communities (Communities). It became clear early in the project that the significant concerns of all participants about the wellbeing of Aboriginal children and families needed to be addressed, in parallel with conversations about partnering. These concerns included issues such as increasing rates of Aboriginal child removal; unsatisfactory rates of adherence to the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle; lack of documentation and implementation of robust Cultural Safety Plans; inadequate legal representation in court proceedings and a range of other issues.