Providing Cultural Safety for Aboriginal Children and Young People

Staff at Key Assets in Western Australia recently completed training in the use of an Aboriginal Carer Assessment Tool.  The state Director Judith Wilkinson reported that “We will be using the tool with Aboriginal carers and for non Aboriginal carers who will be looking after Aboriginal children.”  She noted that well over 50% of the children in care in WA are Aboriginal.

The three day training was delivered by staff from Winangay Resources, a not-for-profit Aboriginal controlled non government organisation based in NSW.  Winangay in Gamilaraay language means: to know, to think, to love, to understand. Over the past few years they have trialled and refined the assessment tool which is sensitive, inclusive and respectful of applicants’ knowledge, skills and experience.  The assessment process is strength based – ‘enabling’ rather than approving’ – while addressing concerns and needs.

The training was delivered by Gill Bonser, Paula Hayden, and Aunty Sue Blacklock, a highly respected Aboriginal elder from northern NSW.  Several KAWA staff attended including our two East Kimberley staff, Maria and Marnie, who made the long trip down to Perth for the three days.

With so many Aboriginal children in our care, Key Assets WA is working very hard to improve our cultural responsiveness and provide cultural safety for the Aboriginal children and young people we serve.  We believe use of the Winangay assessment tool is a big step forward in this journey.