New trial to help address number of Aboriginal children in care
The McGowan Government is investing $715,000 in an Aboriginal Family Led Decision Making (AFLDM) pilot to support improved collaboration with families at risk of child protection intervention.
The trial will promote greater self-determination and participation for Aboriginal people to address the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care and child protection systems.
The two-year pilot will be led and co-designed by Aboriginal people in Western Australia.
AFLDM is a model that creates a culturally safe space for family and extended family to provide input into decisions regarding their children, and for these decisions to be made in a culturally appropriate way.
The trial will work to make safe choices for children that are supported and led by their families, focusing on three cohorts in several metropolitan and/or regional areas
The trial will initially focus on preventing infants from coming into care by keeping them safe with their parents and families.
Other cohorts that may be part of the trial include children on protection orders (time limited) where the Department of Communities is working towards reunification and strengthening cultural support planning, and children whose families are working with the department’s intensive family support teams to prevent them from entering care.
The trial will expand on changes in the Children and Community Services Amendment Bill 2019, which is currently before parliament, to strengthen Aboriginal participation and consultation, and cultural support planning within the child protection system.
The Bill implements recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the 2017 Statutory Review of the Children and Community Services Act 2004.
The trial will also look at training and workforce capability in WA to support ongoing implementation of AFLDM. It will be delivered in partnership with Aboriginal people and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs).
This work will complement the Aboriginal In-Home Support Service and other prevention and early intervention support services being implemented in WA.
“This important pilot project is the next step in strengthening our child protection system through increased Aboriginal involvement in child protection matters,” said Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk.
“It builds on our work to build Aboriginal ownership of outcomes for children who have contact with the child protection system and strengthen ACCOs’ involvement in support services.
“When Aboriginal families are supported to draw on the strengths and supports of their family and community, they are best placed to make decisions that are in a child’s best interests.
“This trial will be informed by the experiences of other States and Territories that have implemented Aboriginal Family Led Decision Making, such as Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania.
“The McGowan Government is committed to working with Aboriginal people to develop a model for implementing family-led decision making that is appropriate for our State.”