Robyn Skilbeck began her career as an educator and youth worker and has worked for over 30 yrs as a senior manager within child protection across policy, planning, systems and service development roles, with a strong focus on delivery of services for children and carers in out of home care. Robyn is passionate about improving outcomes for Aboriginal children in out of home care and has been a kin carer for the last 20 yrs.
Breaking new ground in remote Aboriginal assessments – Winangay partnering with the SA Department
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 evaluated for presentation at the conference.