We need to be aware of the religious affiliation of the families we work with to ensure we are partnering respectfully with families and fully understanding their family life and culture.
Religious affiliation can be closely connected to a person’s culture, or it may be a separate factor of their identity. Regardless, it is important to bridge the gap between our own religious understanding and the families’ religious affiliations to be able to better understand them and partner with them in the protection of their children.
This will help you identify care arrangements that support the child’s religious identity and help children in care to continue to meet their spiritual needs, contributing to their sense of safety, belonging and wellbeing.
The religious makeup of Australia has shifted slowly over the past 50 years. The top three religious affiliations in Queensland at the time of the 2016 Census were:
- no religion—29.2% (30.1% in Australia)
- Catholic—21.7% (22.6% in Australia)
- Anglican—15.3% (13.3% in Australia)
Other religious affiliations accounted for 4.3% of the Queensland population and included Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism.
(Media Release ABS Website, 2019).
When working with families from a different religious affiliation to your own, how do you learn about their religion and find out what is important to them?
What questions can you respectfully ask the family to bridge the gap between their religious affiliation and your own?
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Terminology change - placement to care arrangement