“It is the story of all of us”: learning from Aboriginal communities about supporting family connection

29 Feb 2012

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are highly over-represented in out of home care statistics.
Around half of these children are in kinship care, a family arrangement that for Aboriginal people sits uncomfortably with the concept of ‘out of home care.’ Despite the number of children in Aboriginal kinship care, there is little published research in this area. The Family Links: Kinship Care and Family Contact research project was conducted by the University of Melbourne (Department of Social Work) with assistance from staff of my Offi ce. This report describes a component of this study that was devoted to exploring issues for Victorian Aboriginal kinship families. It is the fi rst such study in Victoria.
Three Aboriginal services contributed their professional and personal wisdom about the issues that Aboriginal families face when caring for children unable to live with their parents. In doing so, they also taught us about good practice for working with all families. In refreshingly direct and humane language, they spoke about patience, creative responses, listening and not judging, understanding and allowing for fears borne of personal and social history.

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