Jennifer Hannan AM

Biography

Jennifer Hannan is the State Director in WA for MacKillop Family Services. She has worked as a Therapist (child, couple and family) and then as a Manager and Executive Director for a number of not for profit organisations including Relationships Australia, Centacare and Anglicare and now MacKillop Family Services over her 30 year career.

In Jennifer’s current position at MacKillop, she is responsible for all WA Services including their foster care programmes which include innovative collaborations with Aboriginal organisations to provide aboriginal carers for Aboriginal kids on country.

Jennifer was past chair and board member of FRSA and Families Australia, served for 5 years on the Family Law Council of Australia as the community sector appointee and has current positions on the Department for Child Protection Department (WA) Case Review Board and the Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre Board.

Abstract

In WA 53% of children in OOHC are Aboriginal and many are placed out of country and out of culture. Recognising the significant over-representation of Aboriginal children in care, MacKillop approached the Roelands community just outside Bunbury over a year ago to establish a house in which Aboriginal fosters carers could care for children from their own communities, trained and supported by MacKillop staff. Roelands is now a working farm and has become home to Aboriginal people – many of whom were original residents of the mission – determined to turn this place of historical heartache into a place of healing.
This paper will take you on a journey of collaboration between MacKillop Family Services and Woolakabunning Kiaka Incorporated the Aboriginal controlled organisation who bought the old Roelands Mission. With MacKillop’s support a home on the site has been turned into a foster care home for children. Carers are from the local Aboriginal community, some having grown up on the old Mission and they are being trained and supported by MacKillop staff to provide therapeutic foster care based on the Sanctuary Model.
Children living in the house will benefit from community run healing programs available at Roelands, while their carers will receive supervision and support from experienced MacKillop staff, in a project expected to improve their chances of finding safety and healing while also preserving their cultural identity.

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