1L Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander


Sarah Decrea,
Relationships Australia South Australia
Wednesday November 21 2018

Time: 2:05pm – 2:35pm

Room: Boardroom 2

1L Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Leading from Behind. Reclaiming ‘Old Way’ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Families



Aboriginal and Torres Strait families and children continue to be disadvantaged. In this presentation Sarah Decrea, Aboriginal Families Practice Leader at RASA, will share strategies for increasing pride in culture, promoting healing and reclaiming Aboriginal ‘old ways’ of parenting. Sarah herself has been able to grow up strong in culture. She knows first-hand how strong positive cultural connections enable Aboriginal families to heal from the adverse effects of trauma arising from colonisation and racism.

This presentation describes Aboriginal perspectives and ways of parenting BC (Before Cook) and demonstrates that love, secure attachment and child safety were central themes of traditional Aboriginal parenting. Using historical records, Sarah will share Aboriginal ways of parenting, which successfully created safety and wellbeing for children, families and communities. Sarah will describe the effects of invasion on Aboriginal families and the resulting loss of culture and family bonds that continue to harm and traumatise Aboriginal families.

To repair and heal this trauma, mainstream and Aboriginal-specific services urgently need to work together with a focus on strengthening culture and traditional parenting. Unfortunately, the good intentions of many services do not translate into effective support because services lack the skills, confidence and cultural competence to work respectfully with Aboriginal families. ‘Working Better with Nunga Kids’ is a professional development program developed by Sarah, which draws from the Aboriginal Dadirri. Dadirri are processes of deep and respectful listening that were traditionally the foundation for healthy community and family. Sarah’s use of Dadirri is a way of encouraging people to explore and learn from their Aboriginal heritage, which strengthens cultural connections, knowledge and understanding that enriches contemporary Aboriginal wellbeing.

Sarah’s work with families is also based on the Ed-U-Care model, which is informed by research from early childhood development, education, social work and other allied fields. With a strong passion for implementing healing the Aboriginal way, she emphasises the spheres of mind, body and spirit. In this 30-minute presentation Sarah will provide examples from the Working Better with Nunga Kids program that supports mainstream workers become more confident in their support for Aboriginal children and families. Prepare to be inspired.

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Sarah is a proud Torres Strait Islander woman, living and working on Kaurna Land. Currently the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Practice Leader at Relationships Australia SA, Sarah is the 2016 NAPCAN Award recipient and has presented at National and International Child and Family conferences.