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Cultural safety

An environment that is spiritually, socially and emotionally safe, as well as physically safe for people; where there is no assault, challenge or denial of their identity, of who they are and what they need. It is about shared respect, shared meaning, shared knowledge and experience of learning together. (Williams, as cited in Cultural Safety, 2013)

Within the context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care, cultural safety means providing the child with a safe, nurturing and positive environment where they are comfortable with being themselves and expressing their culture, their spiritual and belief systems, and they are supported by the carer and family.

Considering this notion, how are we ensuring the placements and care arrangements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are culturally safe? This must be taken into account when we are sourcing placements, supporting placements and partnering with carers and carer services to meet the cultural needs of children and young people in care.

One mechanism to help meet the cultural safety needs of children and young people is the cultural support plan. (See Practice kit: Safe care and Connection – Case Planning)

Practice prompt

How do you ensure the care arrangements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people are culturally safe?

What can you do to make sure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people feel culturally safe in their care arrangements? Who can you talk with? What tools do you use? What processes do you follow?

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