Connecting Aboriginal Children in Care

Connecting Aboriginal Children in Care with Family, Community, and Culture.

Connecting Aboriginal Children in Care

With a painful history of the Stolen Generation, combined with ongoing experiences of trauma, providing care that supports Aboriginal children in care to heal and flourish is a challenge that extends beyond the reach of any group or agency.

From their unique vantage point as Aboriginal people with an in-depth understanding of their community and the child protection system, Aboriginal Practice Leaders from the Fremantle District office have identified several initiatives that would meaningfully contribute to improving outcomes for Aboriginal children in care in the local area.

Connecting Aboriginal Children in Care with Family, Community, and Culture sets out a range of simple, yet impactful measures to articulate additional ways of deepening connections for Aboriginal children in care with enduring natural supports. The initiative seeks to harness the resources that exist in the community to:

• hold regular events to ensure that children, who are otherwise separated from their culture and siblings, can regularly connect

• provide Aboriginal specific care-packs as a symbol of connection to culture, and to provide comfort; and

• provide a more welcoming environment for Aboriginal families when they attend meetings.

Cultural Connections Days

Four Cultural Connection’s days have been hosted since October 2022, in each of the local government areas within the South West Metropolitan region. The Cities of Cockburn, Fremantle, and Melville, having taken turns to host the events. Imagined Futures partners and service providers participate in the Cultural Connections events through providing resources, children’s activities, care packs, goodie bags and general support for each event.

The objective of the Cultural Connections Days is to promote healing and wellbeing of Aboriginal children in care in our local area, through encouraging connection:

• between siblings―so that relationships between siblings are maintained and strengthened

• to community―so that children participate in activities in their community, feel like they belong, have a voice and are proud to be Aboriginal.

• to culture and country―so that children understand their culture, connection to country and their place within it

  • Expanding the program and its resources, making it available to more students in currently-participating schools, as well as to new schools

  • Undertaking qualitative research to supplement the currently limited knowledge base on factors influencing disengagement from school

  • Documenting the model so that other regions can replicate the project.

Our Impact

Connection to Culture

Aboriginal children understand their culture, connection to country and their place within it

Connection to Community

Aboriginal children participate in activities in their community, feel like they belong, have a voice and are proud to be Aboriginal.

Connection to Family

Childrens’ relationships with their siblings are maintained and strengthened

Care bags for Aboriginal children in care

Imagined Futures provides Aboriginal children coming in to care with Aboriginal themed care bags that include symbolic and useful items so that children have a tangible sign of their connection to culture as a source of comfort.

So far, 50 care bags have been produced, with each bag including:

• A quilt made using Aboriginal print fabrics.

• An Aboriginal picture book.

• An Aboriginal doll

• A bean bag that can be squeezed for comfort (a suggestion of one of our volunteer sewers who was a former childcare director

• A calico tote with pocket sewn on.

The bean bags and some of the quilts have been sewn by the Fremantle/ Melville CWA and other volunteers from the community. Neami National contributed to the purchase of Aboriginal print fabrics.

Students from The Studio School sewed name tags on to each of the quilts.

Imagined Futures received a community grant from the City of Fremantle to pay for the fabrics for them to use. This grant also contributed to purchase of the picture books and the dolls.

  • Expanding the program and its resources, making it available to more students in currently-participating schools, as well as to new schools

  • Undertaking qualitative research to supplement the currently limited knowledge base on factors influencing disengagement from school

  • Documenting the model so that other regions can replicate the project.