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Strengths of family and kinship

Understand the ways the closeness and connectedness of families and communities can work towards creating a supportive and safe environment for the young person’s transition to adulthood. Develop the young person’s knowledge of their culture and provide them with opportunities to experience Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture through connection to kin, community and elders. Engaging with tools such as the Circles of Safety and Support Tool, Life Story Work, Genograms, and timelines can aid conversations to explore and promote this knowledge.

Be willing to explore barriers to parenting that the young person’s parents may have experienced, given the history of trauma for all Aboriginal people. Be curious and open-minded. Some families may use traditional Aboriginal child rearing practices, while others may not.

Get to know and appreciate the different child rearing practices and how you can engage with these practices. This will help maintain the young person’s connection to their family members and deal with issues that have arisen resulting in abuse and neglect.

Kin and community as a resource

Family is the cornerstone of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, spirituality and identity. Maintaining connection to family for young people when they are in care promotes strong ties that can support them during their transition.

When young Aboriginal and Torres Strait people understand their own history and how they are connected within their community, they are able to learn how to develop safety in future relationships. This can be done by:

  • identifying kin and exploring what role they might play with the young person
  • taking active steps to strengthen a young person’s connection to their family and community through contact arrangements, family finding or therapeutic life story work.
  • having face-to-face contact with family and visiting their community and country
  • involving kin in building identity and confidence in a young person.       

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