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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have the right to self-determination through full and meaningful involvement and participation in child protection decisions affecting them, including decisions about intervention, care arrangements, and judicial matters.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle of participation recognises that children and families have the best knowledge about the strengths and risks that exist in their own families and community. Their participation in significant decisions and decision making processes is to be encouraged and supported and their expert knowledge and preferences heard and valued.

The safety and support network for a child and their parents expands when family members are involved in significant decisions and decision making processes. Their participation can help to identify care arrangements within the family and community, and ensure families are able to take responsibility for the plans they have made to address the safety concerns.

There are three significant practice areas that seek to actualise these principles in practice:

  • Independent person - to support and facilitate the participation of the child and the child’s family in the decision making process.
  • Family-led decision making - to support families in processes that increase their voice, participation and involvement in decision making and planning. 
  • Family Participation Program - through the investment and support of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) to deliver family-led decision making processes and independent person services as a means to increase the active and meaningful participation of children, their families and communities, and offer families culturally relevant services.

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