Who is leading the change
- Department of Health and Human Services
The Victorian Government:
- continue to work in partnership with Aboriginal communities to develop a statewide strategic response to improving the lives of vulnerable Aboriginal children and young people
- increase investment in programs that provide ‘wrap-around’ support to parents and children, especially in the first five years of life, so that the trajectory into child protection for these vulnerable families is interrupted and reversed
- expand the Aboriginal component of Child FIRST to reduce the high rates of removal of Aboriginal children and provide consistency across Victoria
- examine factors that influenced the decline in admissions into out-of-home care in Outer Gippsland, Mallee, Goulburn and North Eastern Melbourne so that lessons can be learnt and applied to future policy and practice
A detailed implementation Plan for the Wungurilwil Gapgapduir: Aboriginal Children and Families Agreement has been endorsed by the Aboriginal Children's Forum (ACF) who will provide ongoing oversight and monitoring of the Agreement.
Findings from the evaluation of the Aboriginal Maternal and Child Health (MCH) trials are being used to inform improvements to the universal MCH Service, to the benefit of all Aboriginal families.
Family Safety Victoria has established Aboriginal Advisory Groups in each launch site (Barwon, Bayside Peninsula Area, North East Melbourne Area, Inner Gippsland Area and Mallee) and will establish Aboriginal Advisory Groups in other Areas. An Aboriginal Engagement and Inclusion Action Plan for The Orange Door will be established during Tranche Two implementation.
Wungurilwil Gapgapduir: Aboriginal Children and Families Agreement (Agreement) and Strategic Action Plan were signed and launched on 26 April 2018 with a commitment to $47.3 million in the 2018-19 State Budget to support implementation. The Agreement was signed by representatives of the Government, child and family services sector and the Aboriginal community. It formalises the commitment by all parties to implementing Aboriginal self-determination across child and family services, specifically the transfer of care for Aboriginal children to Aboriginal organisations.
Following the co-design process, the Aboriginal Maternal and Child Health Initiative (AMCHI) service model was trialled at 9 sites across Victoria. The sites included Aboriginal community controlled organisations (ACCO) only delivery; Local Government Area (LGA) only delivery; and integrated partnerships between local government and Aboriginal organisations. The focus was to trial culturally safe, flexible and integrated service delivery, with innovative activities developed by each of the sites to encourage increased participation and engagement with the MCH Service. The 2018-19 State Budget included further funding for the continuation and expansion of Aboriginal MCH services with findings from the evaluation of the AMCHI trials informing future improvements to the Universal MCH Service, to the benefit of all Aboriginal families.
The Aboriginal Cradle to Kinder has expanded from 2 sites to ten. These programs provide long-term and intensive family and early parenting support for vulnerable young mothers and their families. Approximately 10 percent of the funding provided through Integrated Family Services is allocated to ACCOs.
The 2017/18 State Budget included investment for state-wide roll out of Support and Safety Hubs. This included funding for Aboriginal organisations to provide expert input to ensure Hubs meet the needs and preferences of Aboriginal communities. Hub Leadership Groups in all launch sites have confirmed auspice arrangements for the Aboriginal Practice Leader position with funding provided in March 2018 for four sites and funding distributed for the final site in June 2018.
A review into placement prevention and reunification services for Aboriginal children and families was completed and used to inform our understanding of factors influencing the decline of admissions into out-of-home care in a number of Department of Health and Human Services areas. The review includes analysis of the representation of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care. It also identifies programs and processes leading to better outcomes for Aboriginal children.
The timeframe for completion of this recommendation was extended to enable Cabinet approval for Wungurilwil Gapgapduir, endorsement of an annual implementation plan and process by the Aboriginal Children's Forum and the completion of the AMCHI evaluation.
Reviewed 17 May 2020