For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia, their connection to land is fundamental to their cultural identity and way of life and strengthens their ties to their family, kin, culture and community through the language they speak, available food resources, spirituality, customs and traditions.
When children are placed in care arrangements away from their country, they may experience a sense of loss and connection that may impact on their wellbeing. The deep relationship between people and the land is often described as a connection to country, and when children are placed in care off country, they may experience system-induced trauma.
Consider placement matching and the child placement principle when making decisions about placing children off country, and what is required of you to help reduce the impacts and feelings of loss the child may experience.
To learn more about how land and country are central to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, watch this short video.
Djapirri Muninggirrity, from Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory, says simply, ‘Without the land, we are nothing.’(Australians Together, 2017)
Reflect on this statement and how children and young people may be feelings when they are in care arrangements that are not within their own community or on country?
What steps can you take and who can you talk with to support children and young people to maintain their connection to country?
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