Following last year’s launch of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle: A guide to support implementation and in response to recommendations from the Our Booris Our Way Steering Committee (Interim Report 2018, ACT), SNAICC facilitators are in the process of training 30 team leaders and 150 case workers from the ACT Community Services Directorate in understanding and applying all elements of the Child Placement Principle.
SNAICC consulted with departmental staff to tailor training to their needs, with the top three priority areas being:
- engaging skills to work with Aboriginal families
- understanding Aboriginal child-rearing practices
- practice examples for each of the five elements of the Child Placement Principle.
To date, agencies have focused mostly on the placement element without giving equal attention to partnership, participation, connection, and prevention in the context of addressing the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
Training discussions and activities draw from the implementation guide and the wealth of expert knowledge and experience outlined within it that was gathered from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agencies and leaders across the country on best practice for addressing all of the Child Placement Principle priority areas.
In addition to the five elements of the Child Placement Principle, discussions at training focus on how to explore identification (self-identifying as being an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person) accurately and respectfully, as well as leaving the conversation open to return to as rapport and relationships grow over time.
Participants reflections after training include:
“The workshop provided practical strategies to support case management”
“I enjoyed learning what others are doing in this space and learning from others practice”
“An opportunity to stop, think, reflect on practice. To think about/ learn about aspects of Aboriginal culture, particularly around implementation of the CPP and the circles of trauma, but always focus on strengths”
Alongside training, the ACT Community Services Directorate is updating policy guidelines relating to the Child Placement Principle to embed good practice and ensure accountability mechanisms are in place.
SNAICC commends the Directorate and the Our Booris Our Way Steering Committee for setting the path and priorities to improve responses for Aboriginal children and families in ACT, including enhancing practice and creating more collaborative partnerships with Aboriginal community controlled organisations.
By Eva Ruggeiro, SNAICC’s Senior Sector and Practice Development Officer