On behalf of SNAICC – National Voice for our Children and the conference committee welcome to the official website for the 9th SNAICC National Conference.

We look forward to again gathering with our delegates and speakers from around the country to discuss our challenges and share our knowledge and experiences in raising happy, healthy and confident children in our communities.

A must attend conference for anyone working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and family services – we hope you can join us.

About the Conference

The conference is hosted by SNAICC – National Voice for our Children. SNAICC is the national non-government peak body in Australia representing the interest of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

A biennial event, every two years, this conference is convened to assist with the achievement of the SNAICC vision: An Australian society in which our communities are empowered to determine their own future; where the rights of our children, young people and families are protected; where our cultural identity and achievements are valued; and our children and families have access to culturally appropriate services.

As the largest conference of its type in the southern hemisphere, the SNAICC Conference provides the opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, policy makers, researchers, practitioners, government representatives, other non-government organisations and industry representatives to gather to share their work, learn from one another and make renewed commitments to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.


The conference provides a powerful and inspiring learning experience for attendees and features:

  • International and local keynote speakers
  • Over 70 concurrent sessions, including panel discussions and workshops
  • Displays, poster presentations and exhibitors
  • Cultural highlights and performances
  • Social events and opportunities to network and connect with peers

It is expected that our 2021 conference will again attract a diverse audience of around 1,000 participants from all over the country. This will provide a dynamic networking and learning opportunity for attendees. SNAICC aims to develop a program and conference experience that is culturally rich, interactive and culturally safe.

Conference Themes

Our Children Matter: Innovative approaches to new world challenges

2020 has been a year like no other, and our communities have been challenged more than ever by the environmental impacts of the raging summer bushfires and then the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by the momentum gained in the Black Lives Matter movement. Our children’s futures matter more than ever, and despite the challenges we are walking down a path towards greater outcomes for our children with a committed and inclusive approach to closing the gap, a national early childhood strategy and local innovative approaches that enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to determine the future of our children. 

SNAICC is seeking presentations from interested communities, organisations and individual on the following key themes:

1. COVID-19 impacts on our communities

The last year has shown us just how rapidly the political and social landscape can shift and how we must ensure we can be agile in responding to our community’s needs. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a disproportionately high impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. While this crisis continues to expose the flaws in our government systems, it also provides an opportunity to make improvements that will have a long-lasting impact in the years ahead. In our discussions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations, we have heard stories of innovative practice approaches that are maintaining our children’s connection to family, community, culture and Country.

We are interested in hearing about:

  • Insights on the impacts that COVID-19 are having on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities;
  • The practices and strategies that services are utilising to enable family and cultural connection for our children in alignment with social distancing measures; and
  • Research on the effectiveness and impacts of government policy and program responses to the pandemic.
2. Child safety and wellbeing

Supporting strong, healthy, self-determining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children connected to family and culture requires the transformation of Australia’s child protection systems.

This theme focuses on early intervention approaches that address economic, social and community-level factors that impact the safety and wellbeing of our children. Holistic views of child wellbeing that includes safety, health, culture and connections, mental health and wellbeing, home and environment, learning and skills, empowerment and economic wellbeing. We would like to hear on:

  • Latest research, practices and policies that shows effective permanency for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and applies the five elements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle(ATSICPP);
  • Innovative practices and outcomes that are public facing, evidence based, collective, transformative, and provide long-term sustainability;
  • Successful programs and services that support our children’s safety and wellbeing that share best practices and integrate community-based initiatives; and
  • Practices that collectively strategise to achieve broader political and system change.
3. Early years

The early years for our children are critical, shaping their futures. The announcement by Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, of a whole-of-government Indigenous early childhood strategy recognises that achieving equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must place our children at the centre. We know that access to quality, culturally safe services, including maternal and child health, family support, and early childhood education and care, are essential for supporting children’s development. This is particularly true for children who experience disadvantage early in life. We are interested in hearing from services that develop culturally safe and responsive policies and practices that increase access and improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children early in life and contribute to the safety and wellbeing of our children and include:

  • Genuine co-design in working towards a National Early Childhood Strategy;
  • Respecting, preserving and teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages;
  • Child-centred approaches;
  • Embedding cultural strengths at a national, regional and local level; and
  • First Peoples’ rational ways of child rearing.
4. Rights of children and young people

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people remain one of the most vulnerable groups in Australia, experiencing poverty, exclusion, discrimination and removal from their homes and cultures. This reflects serious systemic denial of human rights and intergenerational trauma requiring targeted, strengths-based measures that redress the causes behind these problems.

This theme is focused on presentations that include a rights-based approach for children and young people. Focussing on self-determination and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in issues affecting our communities. Embedded within this is the right to raise our children within our culture and support them to grow up strong in their identity. We are interested in presentations on:

  • Child rights, including the rights of our children to participate in decisions affecting them and staying connected to family and culture, are embedded in legislation, policies and practice across Australia;
  • Strategies that include young people and families in developing services and policies that lead to improved changes in current systems and nurture our children and youth as future leaders; and
  • Programs and services that harness indigenous youth innovation.
5. Genuine partnerships

This theme focuses particularly on collaborations that support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous organisations in building partnerships for child and family service delivery. Self-determination in relation to the wellbeing of their children and young people requires genuine partnership in the design and delivery of child protection systems, family support services, and early childhood services.

In building capacity and enabling self-determination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, aiding the design and creation of systems that will best meet the needs of their families and communities. We are particularly interested in presentations that:

  • Promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and are led or supported by community Elders;
  • Provide opportunities to partner and collaborate in providing community-based solutions for our children, young people and families; and
  • Includes research on data sovereignty that supports self-governance structures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Abstract submissions will open on 4 December.

Conference Objectives

Share and Celebrate Stories

To celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, strengths and successes in child and family services. To share our stories and ideas about what works and how we address our challenges. To showcase culturally appropriate best practices that contribute to positive changes for our Aboriginal and Islander children and young people to thrive in their culture.

Listen, Learn and Grow

To come together to listen and learn from one another on how we will support our Elders of tomorrow. To absorb and grow our knowledge and wisdom of Elders, families and communities, to strengthen our connection to culture.

Inspire Action

To inspire and enable leaders, services and others to act in a way that strengthens Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agency, self-determination and connection to culture. To ensure the rights of our children and families are respected and fulfilled and develop leadership and collective strategies that allow our communities to move forward.