Aboriginal guardianship: the first of its kind in Australia
In 2018 in an Australian first, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), in line with Section 18 of the Children Youth and Families Act (2015), commenced transferring Guardianship of Aboriginal Children on Children’s Court Protection Orders to the CEO of an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organization. VACCA’s NUGEL (Belong) Program is the first of these ’Aboriginal Children in Aboriginal Care’ programs to be implemented in Victoria. Now fully responsible for the protection and care of a group of Aboriginal children and young people, NUGEL represents a major leap forward in recognizing the right of Aboriginal people to self-determination. It also represents an exciting opportunity for Aboriginal organisations working in partnership with Aboriginal families to do it differently, particularly in relation to hearing the voice of Aboriginal children. This presentation will present insights into the practice of the NUGEL program, drawing together a collection of case practice examples, which demonstrate NUGEL’s emerging culturally embedded practice approach to keeping children safe, empowering and strengthening families and communities, drawing on culture to promote healing and build resilience, utilizing and embedding kinship systems of care and Aboriginal child rearing practices and providing an Aboriginal trauma informed approach.
Sue-Anne Hunter, a proud decedent of the Wurundjeri people, is State-wide Principal Practitioner at VACCA. Sue-Anne is undertaking her Master of Social Work. Qualifications include: Master Certificate in Trauma & Recovery, Graduate Certificate in Clinical Family therapy, Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), Diploma of Community Development, and Diploma of Frontline Management.