New project aims to support Victoria’s Aboriginal women to better meet infant needs
A new project will support Aboriginal women in Victoria to better meet their babies’ and infants’ needs and reduce the likelihood of children entering the state’s child protection and care system.
The three-year ‘Growing Up Aboriginal Babies at Home’ project will commence in October 2020 and will be delivered by the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) in partnership with the University of Melbourne’s Department of Social Work. The project will:
- Work with young Aboriginal women (and their partners) who are identified as at risk of their baby being placed in out-of-home care or, if removal has already occurred, seek reunification with their baby.
- Support the women to meet their infants’ needs and keep them safe.
- Use Aboriginal defined measures of success and culturally appropriate data collection.
In Victoria, Aborignal children are “significantly overrepresented” in out of home care (OoHC), with 1 in 18 Aboriginal children in OoHC in Australia as at 30 June 2019 – more than 10 times the rate for non-Aboriginal children.
The project has been funded by a collaborative group of philanthropists, members of the Out-of-Home-Care Philanthropic Funders Network who share an interest in improving the outcomes of children and young people who are at risk of entering, or with an experience of, OoHC, with the program being codesigned by VACCA and the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare.
CEO Adjunct Professor Muriel Bamblett said VACCA is determined to address the over-representation of Aboriginal children in care, adding that the funding will enable VACCA to achieve better outcomes for Aboriginal families in Victoria, with the broader goal of reducing the likelihood of Aboriginal newborns and infants entering OoHC.
The funding has been awarded as part of the Network’s Innovation Grants program, which sees Network members collaborate to drive innovation and systemic change across the child and family services sector. This project is the second collaborative funding initiative of the Network.
Centre CEO Deb Tsorbaris said the fundamental right of self-determination for Aboriginal communities meant that VACCA was well placed to deliver this project alongside Aboriginal communities: “All children and young people should grow up in safe, stable home environments, connected to family, community and culture.
Children and Young People Grant Manager at Equity Trustees and Network member Emily Cormack said the Network’s objective is to fund innovative and collaborative approaches to address systemic issues: “This Network and the Innovation Grants demonstrate how philanthropy can work together to affect change and create lasting impact for children and young people with an experience of OoHC.”
Network members who collaborated to fund this project include Equity Trustees – The David Taylor Galt Charitable Trust, Gandel Philanthropy, William Buckland Foundation, The Jack Brockhoff Foundation, Sidney Myer Fund and the Australian Communities Foundation – EM Horton Family Fund.
More information is available here.