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Cultural Support Planning with Aboriginal Children and Young People

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Presentation on theme: "Cultural Support Planning with Aboriginal Children and Young People"— Presentation transcript:

1 Cultural Support Planning with Aboriginal Children and Young People
Legal Aid NSW Care and Protection Conference – 22 August 2014 Wendy Hermeston, Senior Policy Officer, AbSec Thank you – previous speakers Acknowledgement

2 Cultural Support Planning
Links between past history (Stolen Generations) and current over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people In the best interests of the child? Cultural identity and its importance to Aboriginal children and young people in care Cultural Support Planning explained - in minutes! Your role as solicitors – where and when to pounce 11.00 – (1 mins) - Welcome and intro 11.01 – (3 mins) - Background/History: Colonisation, Stolen Generations and cultural identity. No stats – ALS, AIHW, FaCS’ Annual reports 11.04 – (1 min) - Cultural support planning explained! 11.05 – (3 mins) - Case studies – talking through the issues arising 11.08 – (2 mins) - Your role as solicitors planning Background Why cultural care planning is important to Aboriginal people History S13 – broader than a hierarchy it’s about consultation UN CROC Permanency planning to be done properly the development of cultural support plans Dot points on nation, language, totem, services, CONSULTATION, supports/activities – lawyers will ask “what do you mean ‘supports’”? Tailored to individual children, cultural supports differ from child to child, let alone town to town, region to region, remote to metro Child rep guidelines only refer to using the right language, communication with Aboriginal children, young people and their families Refer to CROC – child has a right to culture and that’s the basis we argue ACPPs – paraphrase – child has a right to culture – research indicates it’s in the interests of children to be raised in culture (SNAICC/Libesman) People don’t understand intergenerational trauma – the impact of removal specific to Aboriginal kids, families and communities (the “so what”). So link with SGs – this is why a child has a right to culture and why we have s13 Why culture is important – process is that it’s historically and currently done poorly (if at all) – NAIDOC Day and NITV don’t cut it Gemma whinging – CS shut her up! We started a collaborative group where Gemma engaged AbSec, we engaged with children’s court and started development of Cultural Support Plan template – which is currently being finalised and will be absorbed into a new care plan document as part of reforms Take home messages - What can lawyers do?? They can ensure CSP is being developed and completed – a well developed CSP so they can satisfy the CYP will be exposed to what’s in the plan Default position - ALWAYS request a s82 at final orders It can then be followed up and monitored in a s82; when you receive a s82 you need to satisfy yourself things have been set up in a CSP and it’s been genuinely implemented You can do that if you ALWAYS ask for a s82 with Aboriginal kids

3 We were… brainwashed to think only like a white person.
Most of us girls were thinking white in the head but were feeling black inside. We weren’t black or white. We were a very lonely, lost and sad displaced group of people We didn’t know anything about our culture. We were… brainwashed to think only like a white person. When they went to mix in white society, they found they were not accepted, [as] they were Aboriginal. When they went and mixed with Aborigines, some found they couldn’t identify with them either, because they had too much white ways in them. So that they were neither black nor white. They were simply a lost generation of children. I know. I was one of them.” HREOC. Bringing them home. Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families. Canberra: AGPS 1997 Stolen Generations – systematic history of forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families and it’s impact on the kids you represent today Cultural identity and its importance to Aboriginal children and young people in care Most if not all people who were removed from their families in the past, and CYPs in care today will have issues to deal with because of their removal Where children are not only removed from their parents, but from their extended family, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, community and culture, particularly where they lose connection with those and are placed in another culture there’s another level of “hollowness” that underlie all the other issues that all children and young people in care can face The first question Aboriginal people often ask each other when meeting initially is: “What’s your name, who’s your mob, where you from?!” Not being able to answer can be confronting, painful and alienating for any Aboriginal person. The aim of cultural care planning is to help Aboriginal children and young people in out of home care to strengthen their sense of identity, belonging, wellbeing and pride in who they are, so they know, as much as possible, answers to questions as important as these.

4 Children and young people’s rights
and our obligations: UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC), 1990 – Articles 8, 9, 20 and 30 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007 s13 Aboriginal Child Placement Principles (next slide) s78A Permanency Planning (3)  A permanency plan for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child or young person must address how the plan has complied with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child and Young Person Placement Principles in section 13 Australia is now party to international human rights treaties and has endorsed several declarations, including (and of importance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children), Australia: has agreed to be bound by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1990 (CROC) and has endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007 (UNDRIP). The CROC is a human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of people under the age of 18 years. It’s a significant milestone in understanding of children and childhood. The CROC emphasises that children have rights and entitlements of their own and, acknowledgement that they need extra protections in place. Article 8 (Preservation of identity): Children have the right to an identity – an official record of who they are. Governments should respect children’s right to a name, a nationality and family ties. Article 9 (Separation from parents): Children have the right to live with their parent(s), unless it is bad for them. Children whose parents do not live together have the right to stay in contact with both parents, unless thiS might hurt the child Article 20 (Children deprived of family environment): children who cannot be looked after by their own family have a right to special care and must be looked after properly, by people who respect their ethnic group, religion, culture and language. Article 30 (Children of minorities/indigenous groups): Minority or indigenous children have the right to learn about and practice their own culture, language and religion. The right to practice one’s own culture, language and religion applies to everyone; the Convention here highlights this right in instances where the practices are not shared by the majority of people in the country

5 s13 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Child and Young Person Placement Principles (6)  If a child /young person to whom subsection (4) applies: (a)  is placed with a person who is not within an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander family or community, arrangements must be made to ensure that the child/ young person has the opportunity for continuing contact with his or her Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander family, community and culture, or (b)  is placed with a person who is within an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander family or community, arrangements must be made to ensure that the child or young person has the opportunity for continuing contact with his or her non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family, community and culture.

6 Cultural Support Focus on our children’s right to culture
Protective and a source of resilience and wellbeing – culture as indivisible from an Aboriginal child’s best interests Child viewed in the context of the whole family and the whole community – not separate Day to day – embedded Enables connections, helps Aboriginal children/young people feel a part of their culture and not a stranger to it, to know their own identity, where they fit, where they belong Spending time with mob through contact  specialist identity counselling Cultural supports are the important, protective aspects embedded in day to day out-of-home care, that help Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and young people to know, live and feel a part of their culture. Cultural supports can help a child or young person to develop and maintain their cultural identity, connection and sense of belonging to their family and community and to feel an appreciation and pride in their culture. Well planned supports can help prevent an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander child or young person from becoming isolated from their own culture and people, particularly when they are not growing up in their own culture with their own family, with relatives or kin carers or with Aboriginal foster carers. Application of adequate cultural supports involves recognition of the critical role of extended Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander family and significant community members, such as elders, in contributing to planning and in providing ongoing cultural support. Cultural supports can be ascertained by determining the child or young person’s cultural needs and personal circumstances, their knowledge of and connection with their culture and the extent to which they identify, their knowledge and connection with family, extended family, kin and community. Cultural support mechanisms can vary from ongoing specialist identity counselling or mentoring from significant people from the child’s community, to simply having more contact time to connect with extended family, through family visits or attendance at family occasions Support may include: • an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mentor • provision of books, artwork or information from the internet that relates to the specific cultural groups of that child • someone attending community events with the carer for the first time • introducing carers to key community members • contact by the identified Child Safety Support Officer or the recognised entity to help the carer understand the child’s history, culture and current issues • providing the carer with an annual events calendar • providing the carer with a list of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services and contacts and particularly those who have a personal connection to the child • attending relevant training programs or workshops.

7 Cultural Support planning template
Child or young person’s cultural identity, kinship groups, community of belonging, language, totem, thoughts on what’s important in their cultural development Child or young person’s parents, siblings Extended family, kin or community people with a role in supporting child or young person Participation in cultural activities, events and programs are experiences, classes, sessions or other measures that allow Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children or young people to actively participate in, be immersed in and grow up with, their own culture Aboriginal organisations or services with a role in supporting child’s cultural and other needs Consultation – who was consulted, relevance to child, how they were consulted and by whom, what their views were Cultural support planning template cultural activities, events and programs are experiences, classes, sessions or other measures that allow Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children or young people to actively participate in, be immersed in and grow up with, their own culture. These may be formal, organised measures or less structured more informal activities with extended family and community. Authentic, well-conceived and delivered activities can help develop a child or young person’s interest, cultural knowledge, skills and confidence. They also provide an opportunity for a child or young person to establish or maintain connections with their extended family and community/ies and develop a sense of belonging in their culture.

8

9 The role of solicitors – short term gain for long term gain
Cultural support inadequate ? Care plan filed Ask for s82 re cultural support for Aboriginal kids!! Final Orders s82 Affidavit ADR A lot of problems because of SHORT CUTS The front end work viewed as too much, too involved, too hard, too many hard questions – seen as short term pain!! FacS send care plan to Children’s Court Solicitors/child reps get the care plan around the same time If all parties happy  final orders If not, file affidavit and/or matter moves to ADR if parties are in disagreement, or to a hearing Court needs to be satisfied permanency needs have been properly met Developing template – to be discussed in a minute!

10 Cultural Support Resources

11 Cultural Support Resources AbSec CONSULTATION Guide
Intro and history Aboriginality Guiding Principles. Consultation in Practice. Cultural Support Planning in Practice. Cultural Protocols and Practices. Forms and templates. Appendices – links and tip sheets for all of above + Aboriginal organisations + calendar of events, Aboriginal Languages map

12 Thank You The Children’s Court of NSW Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Ltd FaCS’ Aboriginal Services Branch and Legal Branch AbSec colleagues – staff and Aboriginal OOHC agencies Tie into next discussion re cultural support planning with Rana and Ghassan. Thank Judge Johnstone and Rosemary Davidson, Rana Sahib and Juliet Northcote of Children’s court; Gemma Slack-Smith; Anne Ralph, Cheryl Purchase and Rod Best, Michelle Lester, Angela Webb, Dana Clark, Barry Lenin. Further details available at: OR Contact Wendy:

13 Cultural Support Resources
AbSec: Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency: Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak: Secretariat of National Aboriginal Islander Child Care: AIATSIS: Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Studies: (‘Little Red Yellow and Black Book’) UNICEF – CROC Factsheet: Health Info Net – Resources pages: Bamblett and Lewis (2007). Detoxifying the Child and Family Welfare System for Australian Indigenous Peoples: Self-determination, Rights and Culture as the Critical Tools; First Peoples Child and Family Review, p49


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