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Biases and assumptions

Practice prompt

Continually develop your cultural competence. Consult and seek expert perspectives from Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders with support from your Cultural Practice Advisor, Family Participation Program staff or the Independent Person.

Utilise critical reflection of your work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and families and develop an awareness of culturally competent practice as a pivotal part of your everyday work.

It is important to acknowledge any stereotypes you have about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

When thinking about what has informed these beliefs, consider:

  • your own personal values and beliefs and how they impact on your practice, for example ensuring that you aren’t making judgements about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditional child rearing practices
  • how this affects your interactions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people Are you speaking to them respectfully and endeavouring to learn about their culture and life experience?
  • what you might need to do to ensure your beliefs do not affect your interactions. Ensuring that you are able to seek advice and support to develop your cultural knowledge and competence.

Know and acknowledge your privilege and power, especially as a representative of the child protection system. As such, you represent the white privilege and power of government departments and policies, both past and present.

Because a CSO carries the baggage of past government policy, it can be difficult to overcome mistrust and misunderstanding between child safety staff, cultural service providers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and families. Strong relationships and collaborative practice, including cross-agency education and nurturing of individual and team relationships, can help to establish trust and effective relationships.

Further reading

Read Peggy McIntosh’s 1988 White privilege: unpacking the invisible knapsack. This is a classic text on racism.

Learn more about working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and families in the practice kit Safe care and connection.

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