Family Relationships Quarterly No. 17

AFRC Newsletter No. 17 – September 2010

Working and Walking Together: Supporting Family Relationship Services to Work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Families and Organisations

by Mark Lawrence

The Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) has recently produced a resource aimed at supporting non-Indigenous family relationship services to work in culturally appropriate ways with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and their communities. This article highlights the features of the guide.

Working and Walking Together: Supporting Family Relationship Services to Work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Families and Organisations provides non-Indigenous workers with information, ideas and guiding principles to develop culturally appropriate services and professional practice that are respectful of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their culture. Well-structured chapters offer a general introduction to and practical tips on:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and families;
  • the social and historical context of contemporary issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities;
  • the importance of personal professional reflection and tips on cross-cultural communication approaches;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural protocols;
  • approaches for non-Indigenous organisations to develop their cultural competence in engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations;
  • developing culturally appropriate programs and professional practice; and
  • using action research evaluation methodologies for organisations to document, reflect on, evaluate and report on initiatives to engage more effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and develop partnerships with community organisations.

The resource also features four case studies highlighting practical examples of ways in which family relationship services can successfully engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and provide culturally appropriate services and programs.

Family relationship services are encouraged to share stories, case studies and findings from action research evaluation projects about their achievements in working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and organisations on the SNAICC website.

Targeted at family relationships services, the resource is for all staff, including administrative and intake staff, counsellors, mediators and dispute resolution practitioners, relationship and parenting educators, and managers. The resource will also be useful to other non-Indigenous staff and organisations working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in family and community services.

Full-colour print copies of Working and Walking Together are available for $38 plus $7 postage and handing (inc. GST) and can be ordered via SNAICC's website <www.snaicc.asn.au/>

The PDF can be download from the SNAICC website.

For inquiries about the publication, or to discuss discounts on postage and handing for bulk orders, contact Mark Lawrence at SNAICC

Mark Lawrence is SNAICC's Coordinator, Social and Emotional Wellbeing Projects.