Call For Abstracts
Abstract submissions have now closed.
Submission Process & Important Details
Abstracts must be submitted online. If you are unable to complete the abstract submission electronically please contact the Conference Secretariat on 03 9863 7606 to discuss other options.
- The SNAICC abstract submission deadline has been extended to Friday 3 March 2017, 5.00pm EDST
- All submitted forms will be considered by the conference organisers and assessed according to the selection criteria.
- We may negotiate with you to adapt the original format of your presentation.
- Presenters will need to meet their own conference registration fees and travel costs. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations are eligible to apply for one travel subsidy according to where they are travelling from. Details will be on the registration form.
- Receipt of abstract submissions will be acknowledged by email. Proposers will be notified of acceptance by April 2017.
The following selection criteria will apply:
- The presentation must relate directly to conference objectives and fit within one of the key conference themes, listed below.
- Preference will be given to presentations that are:
- Presented or co-presented by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and community members.
- From Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, and in particular, SNAICC members.
- Evidence or outcome based (what is working).
- Presenting something new (e.g. New research, new practices, progressive ideas, new application of culture).
- In collaboration with other agencies or young people.
SNAICC is seeking presentations from interested communities, organisations and individuals on the following key themes:
1. The Stolen Generations
Is this the promised future where the ‘injustices of the past must never, never happen again’?
This theme honours and explores the strength and resilience of the Stolen Generations and their families and seeks to learn from their stories and strategies. We pause to look back at the Bringing Them Home report and beyond, and to successes and struggles since, in order to identify existing knowledge and experiences that can disrupt the continuing reality of removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families.
2. Redressing Causes of Removal
Twenty years ago, the Bringing Them Home report acknowledged that despite the end of formal assimilation policies, contemporary separations saw an over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living separately from their families and communities. The report considered the broad social, economic, and cultural causes for continuing removals, concluding that ‘the facts of contemporary separation establish a need for fundamental change in Australian law and practice’.
Today, the causes of removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families are connected to continuing experiences of poverty, disadvantage and inter-generational trauma that impact our communities. These root causes need to be properly redressed in order to secure the rights of our children and ensure that they grow up safe and strong in family, community, and culture. This theme identifies the need for healing from the trauma of colonisation, dispossession, and the Stolen Generations; eliminating institutional racism and discrimination; redressing disproportionate levels of poverty and disadvantage; providing accessible and culturally appropriate family services and early childhood services, and ending family violence.
The Bringing Them Home report set out a procedure for implementation as part of its recommendations, however, the national annual audit and reporting system proposed was not taken up and, to this day, there is still no systemic process for monitoring the implementation of the report’s substantive recommendations. The incomplete implementation of all of the report’s recommendations and the continued over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in child protection systems despite many subsequent reviews, inquiries, and Royal Commissions highlights the critical need for accountability to drive change.
Accountability is necessary to ensure real change in redressing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care. In line with rights to self-determination, it is critical that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander controlled organisations drive and demand accountability at all levels. This includes accountability for system and legislative change, and policy and practice implementation. Accountability is driven by local communities and their organisations through grass-roots movements for change. Accountability is also driven through high-level oversight by entities such as human rights commissions, Children’s Commissioners, peak bodies and through policy frameworks and strategies.
4. Partnership, Collaboration, and Relationships
Self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in relation to the well-being of their children and young people was a key recommendation of the Bringing Them Home report. Achieving this today first requires genuine partnership in the design and delivery of child protection systems, family support services, and early childhood services.
There are many actors, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community groups and community controlled organisations, mainstream services, government agencies and peak bodies, working towards redressing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care. These actors address challenges at different levels and also work together to share best practice and collectively strategise to achieve broader political and system change. This theme focuses particularly on the need for genuine partnership and collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled organisations that build capacity and enable self-determination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
5. A Child Rights Approach
The protection and realisation of the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children underscored the Bringing Them Home report and its recommendations. Twenty years later, we are still fighting for the fulfilment of rights in a context that has worsened in terms of child protection involvement and placement in out-of-home care.
This theme reflects on the critical importance of realising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s rights to redressing their over-representation in out-of-home care. The realisation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s rights is a responsibility of governments, and all organisations and people who touch the lives of our children. Consideration of our children’s rights must properly understand, value, and weigh children’s rights to culture that can only genuinely be enjoyed in connection with family and community, alongside other individual rights. It is important to reflect on the intersecting nature of children’s rights and their experiences in child protection and juvenile justice systems. These experiences are both driven by and causal in violations of children’s rights, amongst others, to safety, culture, health, education, participation, and an adequate standard of living.
6. Community Advocacy for Change
The national inquiry into the experiences of the Stolen Generations came about because of the advocacy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for recognition and response to the tragic consequences of forced child removal for our families and communities. The Bringing Them Home report contains many devastating personal stories of removal and loss of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. These voices were, and continue to be, a direct call to community to demand change for better outcomes for our children today.
Community-based grass roots advocacy is vital as a means to identify, mobilise for, and demand relevant and real change. Community members, community controlled organisations, and services working with our communities on the ground have the best knowledge of the challenges facing our children and families, and are best placed to organise to claim and demand change. Real self-determination comes from the ground up, and better outcomes for children can be achieved by enabling and listening to the voices of grass-roots Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community advocates.
7. Early Childhood Development
The Bringing Them Home report called for the implementation of holistic approaches to prevention that support parenting and family wellbeing. The report recognised the important role played by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early childhood services to support families, including the Multifunctional Aboriginal Children’s Services.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are twice as likely to be developmentally vulnerable early in life than non-Indigenous children. Accessible and culturally safe early years care, early childhood education, and family support services are vital to address this reality and enable children’s safety, development and well-being. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are only half as likely to access early education as non-Indigenous children and massive gaps persist both in the resourcing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early years services, and the provision of culturally safe services by mainstream organisations. This theme recognises the evidence that experiences in early childhood have the greatest impact on children’s school readiness, educational engagement, and later health, social and well-being outcomes. It celebrates and profiles culturally strong approaches that support our children and families to thrive from the start.
8. Keeping Children Connected with Family, Community, and Culture
When proposing national standards legislation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, the Bringing Them Home report highlighted and recognised that the best interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children involved consideration of the desirability of a child remaining within his or her family, community, and culture; the need for a child to maintain contact with family, community, and culture; and the significance of these connections and background to his or her future well-being.
This theme considers the integral importance of connections to family, community, and culture to safety, well-being and the best interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Still, far too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are removed and placed away from their families and communities. Bringing culture to the fore in decision-making requires efforts including increasing participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in decisions for their own children and refocusing on the important work to support families to safely reconnect and reunify. This is particularly important in light of moves in parts of the country towards accelerated permanency planning that can permanently separate children from their families and communities, exacerbating the inter-generational harm of removal. In the case of children living in out-of-home care, effective cultural support planning and implementation are vital in maintaining connections to family, community, and culture.
- Short formal paper presentations (20 minutes maximum with 10 minute question and answer time). These will be grouped with related topics in a chaired session, with 2-3 papers per 90-minute timeslot.
Note that presenters of short papers may alternatively be selected to be presented as part of a facilitated discussion circle or panel session.
- Interactive sessions (up to 90 minutes). These sessions may include workshops, discussion circles, stories or case studies. They are more informal sessions and should include a participatory activity and interactive facilitation style. Presentations may be of varying lengths from 10 minutes (for example part of a panel) to 90 minutes. Shorter sessions may be grouped with related topics in a chaired session of 90 minutes. A short formal paper may be included but is not required.Expressions of interest from facilitators, topics for discussion and yarning circles are also sought for those that are interested.
- Poster Displays (on display for the full duration of conference). Presenters will need to be available at their display to answer questions during a specific interactive session that will be scheduled in the conference program. This form of presentation is most suitable where you can present visually, for example – resources or reporting on research outcomes. The details of table and wall space available will be confirmed later.
- Multimedia – We are interested in submissions of digital stories and short movies made by, with and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people. A selection of these will be screened as part of the conference.
- Other – Any other cultural or craft presentations that may be practical or hands-on.
|5 December 2016||Abstract Submissions Open|
|3 March 2017||Extended Abstract Submission Deadline|
|1 May 2017||Registration Opens|
|23 June 2017||Early Bird Registration Closes|
Enquiries to the Conference Secretariat
Encanta Event Management
Suite 614, St Kilda Road Towers
1 Queens Road, Melbourne VIC 3004
T: +61 3 9863 7607