CI Team: Dr Brad Farrant, Dr Sharynne Hamilton, Associate Professor Carrington Shepherd, Professor Raewyn Mutch, Carol Michie, Nicole Ilich, Larissa Perry
AI Team: Associate Professor Melissa O’Donnell
Key Assets, McKillop Family Services, Life Without Barriers
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are overrepresented in the out-of-home care sector. Many of these children are placed in the care of non-Aboriginal foster parents which disrupts their connection to Culture. This project was developed in response to ongoing calls from Elders and community who have been seeking better cultural connection for their children in out-of-home care for decades.
Using our Elder- and community-led methodology, we are working with the leadership and staff at foster care agencies, children, their birth parents, and carers, community members, and policymakers to co-design a strengths-based, personalised support program for Aboriginal children in out-of-home care and their families, and culturally secure training and support materials.
- We will implement the personalised support program to:
- Provide cultural support to Aboriginal children placed under the care of 3 foster care agencies
- Improve long-term outcomes in multiple domains (health, mental health, and wellbeing, cultural identity)
- Co-design, refine and apply an innovative Aboriginal evaluation framework to establish a comprehensive evidence base on what works, what does not work, when and for who, and why.
- Collaborate to co-design and advocate for key changes to policy and practice
- Establish an Elder-led Aboriginal community consensus about these changes and the cultural support program.
Cultural governance is provided by the Ngulluk Koolunga Ngulluk Koort (Our Children, Our Heart) Elder Researchers. A dedicated sub-group of the Elder Researchers provide direct, hands-on support to support the co-design of the project and its implementation.
Senior Research Fellow, Co-head Developmental Pathways and Social Policy