Bicultural practice in the Northern Territory children and families sector

Children Australia Northern Territory

This paper presents the results of a qualitative research project aimed to better understand the key elements of promising bicultural practice in the Northern Territory children and families sector.

Findings were used to inform the development of a two-way practice framework that can be used by a range of government and non-government organisations.

Parental substance misuse, mental health problems and domestic violence are described as “key risk factors” for child abuse and neglect that often occur together as part of a complex set of social and family issues. In the Northern Territory (NT) Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal practitioners are working together to support families experiencing these multi-faceted issues. Developing effective working partnerships involves understanding the process of developing cultural competence as a ‘two-way street’.

This collaborative project was conducted as a partnership between the Centre for Child Development and Education (CCDE) at Menzies School of Health Research and SAF,T (meaning Strong Aboriginal Families, Together), the NT peak body for children, youth and families. Organisations (six Aboriginal and three mainstream organisations) delivering services in remote, regional and urban settings across both the Top End and Central Australia were profiled. In total, 74 participants, including chief executive officers, human resource managers, operational managers and frontline practitioners were interviewed. Approximately half (48%) of these participants were Aboriginal.

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