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Engaging the young person

The following table provides ideas on how to explore cultural considerations with a young person.

Practice consideration

Questions to ask yourself when planning your work with young people who may be from a different culture or language group. 

If you cannot answer the questions, further advice may be needed prior to engagement. 

  • What cultural information do I need to know so I can understand the young person’s perspective?
  • Does the young person share the same cultural experiences and expectations as their family?
  • Is culture a source of connection to family or conflict with family?*
  • What do I know about the young person and their relationship with family?
  • How does the young person talk about their life experience?
  • What cultural practices may help to keep the young person safe and to heal?
  • Do I understand what elements of their culture inform the young person’s sense of identity?
  • How will I ask difficult questions about the young person’s life experience?
  • What languages does the young person speak?
  • Can I communicate effectively with them to ensure their participation in the planning process?
  • Who could interpret or support me with communicating and relationship building with the young person?
  • What culture or religion does the young person identify with and to what extent do they want to continue their connection to culture?
  • Does the young person identify safe people in their family or community?
  • What cultural norms and beliefs should I be aware of when engaging with the young person?
  • May the young person be stigmatised or rejected by other members of their cultural community or family as a result of Child Safety intervention?
  • What words should or shouldn’t I use?
  • How should I talk to the young person about the future?
  •  How will I talk to the young person about their migration, particularly if the young person is likely to have experienced trauma as part of their experience?
  • Do they want to remain connected to their culture?
  • Would they like to attend church/improve their native language/attend cultural celebrations?
  • How can I help them to reconnect with their community?
  • Would it be appropriate to speak with their family about their transition to adulthood plans?
  • What is the most appropriate way for me to make contact with their mother/father/sibling?
  • I would like to explore their family's involvement, and how this may be helpful to their current situation.

*Young people may have had more of an opportunity to adapt to Australian systems and culture than their parents and in some ways the cultural experience of the young person may differ from that of their parents. This can cause conflict and may be an underlying factor for abuse and/or neglect. 

Adapted from CFCA (2015).

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