Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) contributes to the important discussion on the challenges to the social and emotional wellbeing (mental health) of Aboriginal Victorians and the strategies, approaches and investments that will build and sustain the social and emotional wellbeing of our most vulnerable community members.
This submission includes case stories which highlight current challenges in supporting Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing as well as practices and supports that hold promise for addressing those challenges.
VACCA contends that the social and emotional wellbeing needs of our children, young people and families are not currently being met by the mental health service system, it is not responsive to the specific needs of the Victorian Aboriginal community.
Over-representation of Aboriginal young people in out-of-home care and the criminal justice system as well experiences of childhood trauma and family violence can have a detrimental effect on their development and overall social and emotional wellbeing.
VACCA has identified a lack of culturally based mental health services, we believe that funding should be prioritised to ACCOs to provide mental health services, alongside the development of an Aboriginal mental health workforce which reflects traditional ways of understanding trauma and culturally specific, holistic, therapeutic healing practices.
VACCA’s submission is based on their unique position as an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCO) providing a suite of services across the state supporting children, young people, families and community members. We have protected and promoted the rights of Aboriginal children and families for over 40 years. VACCA believes that all children have a right to feel and be safe and live in an environment that is free from abuse, neglect and violence. They are committed to promoting and upholding the rights of Aboriginal children to maintain and celebrate their identity and culture, recognising that connection to culture is critical for children’s emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing.