Aunty Sue Blacklock (Chair of Winangay Resources Inc) is a respected Elder of the Nucoorilma people from Tingha, NSW. Aunty Sue has been a lifelong advocate for finding new strength-based ways of working with Aboriginal children and families. Aunty Sue is a member of the Order of Australia and the first Ambassador for Children (Australian Centre for Child Protection). She is a moving speaker and will share stories of her life and experiences.
Breaking new ground in remote Aboriginal assessments – Winangay partnering with the SA Department (Interactive Workshop)
Conducting assessments in remote communities has proved a challenge. The Department for Child Protection SA, through local Aboriginal workers, approached Elders and community leaders in remote communities to discuss using a new approach. The decision was made to offer training in assessment procedures to Aboriginal workers working in the APY lands who are already familiar with the communities and families.
Winangay were asked to develop a customised resource to undertake initial assessments of potential kin carers. The resource is very different from previous approaches using a highly visual approach, allowing kin carers to tell their story and be equal participants in the assessment process. Components include cards for kids’ participation in decisions being made for their future, cards to assess home safety as well as an interview for a safety and risk assessment. The resource has been shown to work in the remote areas as well as the urban context. This assessment allows immediate placement while full Winangay assessments are being conducted.
The workshop involves opportunities to trial the resources and explore how they work.
From a theoretical perspective, the new tools are based on the national assessment principles and the SCOPE Model. From a practical perspective they increases compliance with legislation and the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle as well as improving outcomes for kids and keeping them in kin, culture and country. Ongoing feedback on the approach is being collected by Gillian Bonser who is a co-founder and developer for Winangay Resources. She is a psychologist, consultant and facilitator who specialises in creative lateral thinking and innovative resource development. She has a long history of social justice activism in relation to Aboriginal people and those who are living with trauma, particularly in the fields of mental health, community work and leadership.
Aboriginal kids speak out (XPRESS Podium Presentation)
In 2015, 30 Aboriginal kids from Tingha created a calico quilt for the Child Aware conference. This year Tingha Aboriginal kids have again gathered to create a new quilt with new messages. Aunty Sue encouraged the kids to have a say about the out of home care system.
This podium presentation provides an opportunity to hear from the kids. We will present key messages from the quilt and summarise others. Many of the kids had been directly affected, either being removed themselves or by having their family members or friends being removed. They understand their messages and voice will be read and discussed at the conference.
Messages include comments about kinship care, about the stolen generation and adoption and about the importance of culture, family, country, restoration and reunification through kinship placement.
The kids hope their input will inform decision and policy makers and will therefore influence and help shape the out of home care system.