Indigenous families - Healing and wellbeing

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Indigenous families in the AIFS library catalogue

'Every client has a trauma history': teaching respectful relationships to marginalised youth - an evaluation of NAPCAN's Respectful Relationships Program Northern Territory 2017-2018

Dobia B
Penrith, NSW : Western Sydney University, 2019.
NAPCAN has developed a trauma-informed respectful relationships education program in the Northern Territory for young people experiencing complex challenges. The program aimed to address a gap in the field of prevention education: young people with complex challenges are at high risk of abuse and yet have least access to educational experiences that can teach them to navigate relationships more effectively. The program provides training and resources to practitioners in the youth services sector and is adapted from its Love Bites school-based program to provide a more flexible-approach in informal settings. This report describes the development of the program and the evaluation findings. Drawing on consultations with practitioners from a variety of services, the development project investigated the specific needs of the youth sector, evaluated the perceived effectiveness of the program, assessed the program against current research literature, and reviewed the extent to which the program met the social and cultural needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations. The report concludes with recommendations for further development.

Healing through connection : an Aboriginal community designed, developed and delivered cultural healing program for Aboriginal survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.

Black C, Frederico M and Bamblett M
British Journal of Social Work v. 49 no. 4 Jun 2019: 1059-1080
This article describes a new program for Aboriginal survivors of institutional child sexual abuse who had also experienced cultural abuse and disconnection. This healing program was designed, developed and delivered by an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation, and provides a culturally informed approach to healing that is lacking in mainstream services. The article discusses the development, implementation and evaluation of the program, and highlights the views of participants and program facilitators. It concludes with learnings to help inform the design and implementation of similar social work programs.

You are not allowed to tell : organisational culture as a barrier for child protection workers seeking assistance for traumatic stress symptomology.

Oates F
Children Australia v. 44 no. 2 Jun 2019: 84-90
Child protection workers are at risk of traumatic stress, but research has found many are reluctant to seek support. This article looks at the experiences of Indigenous child protection practitioners based in Queensland and barriers to seeking support. Interviews were conducted with 13 practitioners, regarding their experiences of traumatic stress and ongoing impact and experience of seeking support within their workplaces. Together, the participants' describe an organisational culture of bullying, intimidation and retribution, where not coping is seen as incompetence. These findings are part of a broader PhD study on Indigenous practitioners, and issues about cultural background will be discussed elsewhere. However, the participants' experiences are consistent with findings from other studies, regardless of background.

TeaH (Turn 'em around Healing) : a therapeutic model for working with traumatised children on Aboriginal communities.

Moss M and Lee A
Children Australia v. 44 no. 2 Jun 2019: 55-59
This article describes the Turn 'em around Healing (TeaH) therapeutic model of practice, which was developed for children experiencing trauma in remote Aboriginal communities. The model incorporates Aboriginal concepts of healing and spirit within a creative therapeutic framework, and is built upon community involvement and a recognition of the trans-generational trauma present within Aboriginal communities. This article explains the development of the model, outlines how it was implemented in one community, and highlights the key learnings so far.

The impact of physical activity and sport on social outcomes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people : a systematic scoping review.

Macniven R, Canuto K, Wilson R, Bauman A and Evans J
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 1 Jul 2019: Advance online publication
This article investigates whether sports-based programs can improve Indigenous people's outcomes in education, employment, culture, social and emotional wellbeing, life skills, or crime reduction. It reviews the literature on interventions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that are based around physical activity or sport participation. The study found that some evidence of improved outcomes, but further research is required.

Links between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and wellbeing: what the evidence says.

Salmon M, Doery K, Dance P, Chapman J, Gilbert R, Williams R and Lovett R
Canberra, A.C.T. : Australian National University, 2019.
This paper highlights the links between culture and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, as part of a broader project on culture, health, wellbeing, and Indigenous people around the world. It highlights the key cultural domains and notes how they can be leveraged to improve health and wellbeing. The domains are: Connection to country; Cultural beliefs and knowledge; Language; Family, kinship and community; Expression and cultural continuity; and Self-determination and leadership. This paper summarises findings from the full report 'Defining the indefinable: descriptors of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' cultures and their links to health and wellbeing', which will help inform the development of Mayi Kuwayu, a new national study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing.

Supporting the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children through a collaborative community approach.

Wilson B, Shen D and Tulloch R
9 July 2019.
This webinar will discuss how service organisations can work with Aboriginal communities to increase accessibility for First Nations families. In Australia, there is a large gap between the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants, children and parents in mandated services (such as child protection) and these families' use of voluntary community support services. In this webinar, Bill and Dana will discuss their extensive work with non-Aboriginal services and Aboriginal communities to find ways to address this gap. They have worked to increase trust through culturally competent practices that acknowledge the history of social, political and institutional marginalisation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Ruth will then discuss her experience as a non-Aboriginal manager working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in a non-Aboriginal organisation. Together, the presenters will explore the practical implementation of collaboration with Aboriginal communities and how this sits alongside traditional therapeutic approaches in non-Aboriginal services to deliver positive outcomes, particularly for infant and child mental health.

Gift of Gallang: evaluation

Hand K
Sydney, N.S.W. : Mission Australia, 2019
The Gift of Gallang is a suicide prevention program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community children in Inala, Queensland. The program has two main components: ongoing community engagement via cultural nights and school-based prevention program targeting primary school aged children. This report evaluates the development and implementation of the program, with a particular focus on community engagement and ownership, program outcomes, and the role of establishing and strengthening genuine partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members and organisations. Given the potential age of children and the school-based context, it was decided that no reference to suicide or suicide ideation would be made: instead, the program was framed around a strengths-based approach, with a focus on healing mind, body and spirit through cultural connection and self-determination. Overall, the findings of the evaluation are promising and the report concludes with recommendations for revising and strengthening the program.

Partnering with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to deliver trusted services with stronger outcomes for Aboriginal people

Western Australian Council of Social Service, Noongar Family Safety and Wellbeing Council
West Perth, W.A. : WACOSS, 2019
This report presents recommendations on how to improve engagement between Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs), Community Service Organisations (CSOs), and public sector agencies, and to address the systemic, cultural and inter-agency barriers to collaboration. The recommendations stem from a series of roundtables held by the West Australian Council of Social Service and Noongar Family Safety and Wellbeing Council, which were particularly dominated by services involved in the family service and child protection sectors. It is hoped these recommendations will make a small but important contribution to honouring the principles and practice of self-determination for Aboriginal people and ACCOs, and manifestly improve the lives of Aboriginal children and their families.

Children living in households with members of the Stolen Generations: numbers, demographic characteristics and selected outcomes

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019.
Members of the Stolen Generations - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forcibly removed from their families - experience worse outcomes in a range of areas as compared to other Indigenous people, and there is evidence that this trauma has an intergenerational impact. This report investigates the outcomes of Indigenous children aged under 15 who live in households with members of the Stolen Generations, as compared to the outcomes of Indigenous children who do not. It examines outcomes in the areas of health, life stressors, school attendance, language and culture, and also considers the role of family characteristics, such as education level, employment status and any history of contact with the justice system. Data is taken from the 2008 and 2014/15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Surveys (NATSISS). The study finds that these children are more likely to experience poor outcomes than their peers, highlighting the ongoing adverse impacts of these historic removal policies.

Strategic plan 2017-2020: half year report - 1 July to 31 December 2018

Northern Territory. Territory Families
Darwin : Northern Territory Government, 2019
Territory Families was established by the Northern Territory Government in September 2016 to bring together a range of policy and frontline service delivery functions that work together to deliver a whole of life approach to supporting children and families across the Territory. A strategic plan was issued in 2017 to set out their goals, values, and actions for the next three years. The goals of Territory Families are to: provide early support to children, young people and families; safeguard the wellbeing of children, young people, families and the community; partner to empower change; encourage and celebrate inclusive, diverse and connected communities; ensure the structures, systems and legislation supports our vision; and value and invest in our people. This document provides a report of activities and progress achieved in the last 6 months of 2018. Good progress has been made in this period, including work to address some of the fundamental building blocks of a new system: the laws, the case management system and partnerships.

Aboriginal perceptions of social and emotional wellbeing programs : a systematic review of literature assessing social and emotional wellbeing programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians perspectives.

Murrup-Stewart C, Searle A, Jobson L and Adams K
Australian Psychologist v. 54 no. 3 Jun 2019: 171-182
This article explores clients' views on social and emotional wellbeing programs aimed at Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It presents the findings of a systematic review of the literature on participants' perspectives of programs, including their overall views, views on program characteristics and elements, what worked well, appropriateness, positive and negative experiences, and how they felt the program affected their wellbeing. The findings will help inform program design and implementation.

Aboriginal children in out-of-home care in NSW: developmental outcomes and cultural and family connections.

Delfabbro P
Ashfield, NSW : NSW Dept. of Family and Community Services, 2018.
The report investigates the outcomes of Aboriginal children placed into out-of-home care in New South Wales, using data from the Pathways of Care longitudinal study (POCLS). It examines the physical, socio-emotional and cognitive development of Aboriginal children in care, and how it varies over time compared to non-Indigenous children, and also investigates the nature and extent of contact between Aboriginal children and their families, the reasons underlying entry into care, the characteristics of Aboriginal carers and whether they face different or similar challenges to carers in general, and whether the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle is being applied. The findings are discussed in the context of other Australian studies on Indigenous children in care. Overall, the findings are encouraging, with most Aboriginal children in the study generally achieving good developmental outcomes with progress similar to that of other children in care. However, there are areas of concern, particularly about whether the children are maintaining appropriate cultural connections.

Evidence review of Indigenous culture for health and wellbeing.

Bourke S, Wright A, Guthrie J, Russell L, Dunbar T and Lovett R
International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society (Print) (Online) v. 8 no. 4 2018: 11-27
This article reviews the literature from Australia, Canada, the United States, and New Zealand on the relationship between Indigenous culture and health and wellbeing outcomes. In particular, it examined the impact of six cultural domains: country and caring for country, knowledge and beliefs, language, self-determination, family and kinship, and cultural expression. The findings indicate that culture is significantly and positively associated with physical health and social and emotional wellbeing and reduces risk-taking behaviours. However, the evidence on the effectiveness of culture-based interventions for health and wellbeing is mixed.

Victorian Aboriginal men's programs: literature review

No to Violence Male Family Violence Family Prevention Association
Melbourne, Vic. : No to Violence, 2018
This discusses the role of social and emotional wellbeing in helping to address family violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and how it can inform Aboriginal men's behaviour change programs. It also describes several Aboriginal family violence programs and activities currently operating in Victoria and considers issues in impact evaluation, noting evaluation studies from across Australia on programs that have an emphasis on healing and behavioural change. There has been an increase over recent years in activities undertaken in Aboriginal communities with men to address harmful behaviours that lead to family violence, and these promising interventions require ongoing support from governments and mainstream organisations.

Strategic plan 2017-2020: first half year report 2017-18

Northern Territory. Territory Families
Darwin : Northern Territory Government, 2018
Territory Families was established by the Northern Territory Government in September 2016 to bring together a range of policy and frontline service delivery functions that work together to deliver a whole of life approach to supporting children and families across the Territory. A strategic plan was issued in 2017 to set out their goals, values, and actions for the next three years. The goals of Territory Families are to: provide early support to children, young people and families; safeguard the wellbeing of children, young people, families and the community; partner to empower change; encourage and celebrate inclusive, diverse and connected communities; ensure the structures, systems and legislation supports our vision; and value and invest in our people. This document provides a report of activities and progress achieved in the first half-year of operation of the strategic plan.

Strategic plan refresh 2017-2020: key actions 2018-2019

Northern Territory. Territory Families
Darwin : Northern Territory Government, 2018
Territory Families was established by the Northern Territory Government in September 2016 to bring together a range of policy and frontline service delivery functions that work together to deliver a whole of life approach to supporting children and families across the Territory. A strategic plan was issued in 2017 to set out their goals and values for the next three years, as well as the key actions for the 2017-18 period. This new document sets out new priority actions identified for the 2018-19 year, following on from the progress review of the first annual report. The new actions are noted under each of the key goals, which are: provide early support to children, young people and families; safeguard the wellbeing of children, young people, families and the community; partner to empower change; encourage and celebrate inclusive, diverse and connected communities; ensure the structures, systems and legislation supports our vision; and value and invest in our people.

Out-of-home care in Australia: children and young people's views after 5 years of national standards

McDowall J
Parramatta, NSW : CREATE Foundation, 2018.
This report investigates children and young people's views on whether the introduction of the National Standards for Out-of-Home Care has led to improvements in care in Australia. The Standards were introduced in 2011 to foster a similar base level of support across the states and territories. The CREATE Foundation conducted an initial national survey of children and young people in 2012, followed by a government survey in 2015. This report presents findings from a new 2018 survey, and as such reviews the impact of the standards after 5 years of operation. 1,275 children and young people aged 10-17 years old were asked about their experiences of life in care, including placement stability, satisfaction with placement, interactions with care workers, sources of support, case planning, knowledge of family and case history, participation in decision making, connection to culture, leisure activities and the internet, contact with family and friends, health, service usage, education and educational planning and support, bullying, feedback and complaints, and transition to independence. Comparisons are included for type of care placement and jurisdiction. This report provides insights into the strengths and limitations of the out of home care system, as well as what children and young people in care value and need. The survey found that 81% of respondents felt quite happy in their current placement, and that 93% felt safe and secure. Particular issues identified include barriers to involvement in decision making, the lack of support available in residential placements, and the need for better preparation for the transition to independence.

Defining the indefinable: descriptors of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' cultures and their links to health and wellbeing

Salmon M, Doery K, Dance P, Chapman J, Gilbert R, Williams R and Lovett R
Canberra, ACT : National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, 2018.
This explores what Indigenous peoples across the world describe as culture. It reviews the literature from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States to identify the key cultural elements thought of as important and distinct for Indigenous peoples and how they relate to health and wellbeing. Six key domains were identified: Connection to country; Cultural beliefs and knowledge; Language; Family, kinship and community; Expression and cultural continuity; and Self-determination and leadership. This work was conducted to help inform the development of Mayi Kuwayu, a new national study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing.

Study protocol : Our Cultures Count, the Mayi Kuwayu Study, a national longitudinal study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing.

Jones R, Thurber K, Chapman J, D'Este C, Dunbar T, Wenitong M, Eades S, Strelein L, Davey M, Du W, Olsen A, Smylie J, Banks E and Lovett R
BMJ Open v. 8 no. 6 2018: e023861
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's culture is critical to their health and wellbeing, but there is no large-scale data that captures this information. To help address this gap, a new national longitudinal study is being developed to learn more about cultural practice and expression, sociodemographic factors, health and wellbeing, health behaviours, experiences and environments, and family support and connection. This article introduces the 'Mayi Kuwayu' study and explains its objectives, recruitment methods, surveys, ethics processes, and implications for research and policy development.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescent and youth health and wellbeing 2018: in brief

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra, ACT : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018.
This paper presents key findings from the forthcoming report 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescent and youth health and wellbeing 2018'. It collates data on wellbeing, health, social and economic determinants of health, health risk factors, and health service use, for Indigenous people aged 10-24 years old. Here, the concept of wellbeing includes connection to culture, having a say, stressors, and racism. Demographic data on population distribution and young motherhood are also included, as well as comparisons with the non-Indigenous population on selected health and wellbeing indicators.

'We live and breathe through culture' : conceptualising cultural connection for indigenous Australian children in out-of-home care.

Krakouer J, Wise S and Connolly M
Australian Social Work v. 71 no. 3 2018: 265-276
This article provides a brief overview of historic and current legislative approaches to Indigenous child protection in Australia and in particular in Victoria. Though placement in out of home care is designed to make children safe, it threatens the cultural connections that are essential to identity and wellbeing. Indeed, this article argues that family relationships need to be recognised as critical as placement stability

Culture is inclusion : a narrative of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.

Avery S
Sydney : First Peoples Disability Network, 2018.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with severe disability face many barriers to fully accessing the support offered by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Drawing on statistical data and interviews with 47 Indigenous people, this book provides insights into the lived experience of this double disadvantage of inequality. Chapters include: Cultural and social presentations of disability by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; A community-directed research methodology; Prevalence and profile of disability amongst the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population; Discrimination experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disability market; Intersectional inequality: the numbers and narratives; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the national disability insurance scheme; Mental health and wellbeing: trauma and healing; Culture is inclusion: a first peoples cultural model of disability; and A first peoples disability research agenda.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Stolen Generations and descendants: numbers, demographic characteristics and selected outcomes

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018.
The Stolen Generations experienced forced removal from families and disconnection from Indigenous culture and land, resulting in significant negative impacts. The Australian Government has commissioned a study to identify the size, characteristics, and needs of the Stolen Generations, using both quantitative and qualitative data sources. This report presents the findings of the quantitative research, drawing largely on data from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS). It compares health, socioeconomic, and cultural outcomes for surviving members of the Stolen Generations, their descendants, similar Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who did not experience any type of removal, and similar non-Indigenous people. The analysis finds that The Stolen Generations experienced a range of adverse outcomes at a rate higher than their Indigenous peers who had not been removed, including higher rates of incarceration, welfare reliance, poor health, and homelessness. Their descendants also fared poorly. Methodological issues and proxy measures are also discussed.

Kurruna Mwarre Ingkintja - Good Spirit Men's Place: research project report - 'Wurra apa artwuka pmara - Boy's and Male's Place'

Lechleitner K, Nathan P, Silver B and Rosewarne C
Kew, Vic. : CASSE, 2018
Many reports have highlighted the need for an Aboriginal men's place to help provide support for men's healing from traumatic experiences and empowerment within communities. The Kurruna Mwarre Ingkintja 'Good Spirit Men's Place' project was commissioned to develop and evaluate a model of best practice for Men's Sheds in Alice Springs in Central Australia. This paper describes the project, including the rationale and background literature, the participatory action research process, the needs and views of local men, the establishment of a Male Leadership Group, the identification of domestic violence as a key issue for local men, and the development of the intervention 'Breakthrough Violence Changing Minds and Saving Lives: A Brief Group Program for the Treatment of Violence'.

The Aboriginal Australian Family Wellbeing Program : a historical analysis of the conditions that enabled its spread.

McCalman J, Bainbridge R, Brown C, Tsey K and Clark A
Frontiers in Public Health v. 6 Mar 2018 Article 26
The Family Wellbeing (FWB) Program was originally developed as an employment and community development program in 1993 by the South Australian Aboriginal Employment Development Branch. It aimed to develop a highly trained FWB team able to anticipate and respond to changing community needs by training and empowering members of Aboriginal communities. It has subsequently spread nationally to over 60 sites and been delivered to more than 3,500 participants. This article explores the issue of program scaling by examining the changing political and social conditions that influenced the Program's transfer, implementation, adaptation, and sustainability. To begin, national policies for Indigenous affairs have changed focus three times over this 24-year timeframe, shifting from self-management, to mainstreaming, to shared responsibility.

Quality of social and emotional wellbeing services for families of young Indigenous children attending primary care centers : a cross sectional analysis.

Edmond K, McAuley K, McAullay D, Matthews V, Strobel N, Marriott R and Bailie R
BMC Health Services Research v. 18 9 Feb 2018: Article 100
This article assesses how well social and emotional wellbeing services are being implemented in primary care settings for Indigenous families with young children in Australia. An audit was conducted of 2466 client files from 109 primary care centres across Australia from 2012 to 2014, using data from the Audit and Best Practice for Chronic Disease (ABCD) program. It looked at variations by child age, 3-11 month old infants, 12?59 month old young children, geographic location, referral, types of advice or assessment provided, type of professional or practitioner involved, child gender, and reason for last clinic visit. 'Social and emotional wellbeing' care is defined here as advice about domestic environment, social support, housing condition, or child stimulation. The authors' conclude that though the families of young Indigenous children appear to receive priority for social and emotional wellbeing care, many Indigenous families are not receiving services.

Innovative models in addressing violence against Indigenous women: final report

Blagg H, Williams E, Cummings E, Hovane V, Torres M and Woodley K
Sydney : ANROWS, 2018.
This paper looks at innovative models to reduce family violence in remote Indigenous communities in Australia. It draws on a qualitative study of three Indigenous organisations: Marninwarntikura Women's Resource Centre, in Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia; Darwin Aboriginal and Islander Women's Shelter, in the Northern Territory; and Barambah Child Care Agency, Cherbourg, Queensland. It discusses place-based responses, the inclusion of men, court systems and justice, national policies and mainstream services, police and coercive control, trauma-informed responses, and intersectionality. The paper calls for a paradigm shift that moves attention away from a simple criminal justice model towards collective processes of community healing grounded in Indigenous knowledge.

Strategic plan 2017-2020

Northern Territory. Territory Families
Darwin : Northern Territory Government, 2017.
Territory Families was established by the Northern Territory Government in September 2016 to bring together a range of policy and frontline service delivery functions that work together to deliver a whole of life approach to supporting children and families across the Territory. This document sets out the new department's strategic plan for the next three years, including its goals and values as well as the key actions for the 2017-18 period. The goals of Territory Families are to: provide early support to children, young people and families; safeguard the wellbeing of children, young people, families and the community; partner to empower change; encourage and celebrate inclusive, diverse and connected communities; ensure the structures, systems and legislation supports our vision; and value and invest in our people.

Psychosocial factors associated with the mental health of indigenous children living in high income countries : a systematic review.

Young C, Hanson C, Craig J, Clapham K and Williamson A
International Journal for Equity in Health v. 16 23 Aug 2017: Article 153
Indigenous children have higher rates of mental health problems than their non-Indigenous counterparts, despite living in high-income countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. However, these Indigenous populations also share common histories of colonisation and cultural marginalisation. This article investigates further the psychosocial risk and protective factors for mental health in Indigenous children and young people, with a systematic review of the literature from 1996 to 2016. The findings highlight the many risk and protective factors that are shared across countries, and also those common for all children - Indigenous and non-Indigenous.
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