Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Families and Children Toolkit

Emerging Minds, Australia, 2019

The barriers to mainstream service providers working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities are well researched. At times, these barriers can seem impenetrable and positive practice can seem out of reach. With First Nations children so disproportionally represented in child protection, homelessness services and juvenile justice systems, we know that mainstream services increasingly must work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, their families and their communities and must be able to do this effectively.

At times this story of over-representation and disadvantage shapes our interactions and can create a story that might be for some but is not for all. How do you get to know the families and avoid getting caught in a story potentially coloured by white ways of doing business?

This toolkit draws from the expertise of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consultants, practitioners, non-Aboriginal practitioners and Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organisations. Rather than focusing on why it is difficult to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, their families and communities, it will explore how non-Aboriginal practitioners and services can develop genuine connections with Aboriginal people and communities to create the best conditions for effective service delivery; services based on respect, learning and creating shared understandings.

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