The Guiding Principles
The Guiding Principles for strengthening participation of Aboriginal community in child protection decision making
Local Advisory Groups (LAGs)
Under the Guiding Principles the Local Advisory Group's (LAG) develop an individual framework for engaging and involving local Aboriginal people to identify avenues of decision making in the care and protection of Aboriginal children, including but not limited to:
- Monitoring the implementation of the Aboriginal Child Placement Principles, FACS Aboriginal Cultural Inclusion Plan and practices within FACS that may have a negative impact on engaging Aboriginal families and communities.
- Monitoring and reviewing the implementation of cultural care planning.
- Identifying and assessing the effectiveness of current and/or culturally appropriate service models and Early Intervention (EI) options to support families to prevent entry into the child protection or out-of-home care systems.
- Identifying and assessing the effectiveness of current and/or culturally appropriate service models and options for families already in the child protection system.
- Considering innovative approaches to address community concerns regarding prevention, EI and out-of-home care in the local Aboriginal community.
- Building the capacity of the local Aboriginal community to care for local children where emergency removal is required, such as increasing the number of kinship carers.
- Developing a process for community representatives to raise concerns with FACS and receive feedback regarding individual cases.
- Ensure appropriate community, non-government and government representation.
LAGs can include membership from but not limited to the local community, FACS, Local NSW Health, NSW Police, local schools.
LAGs also Provide reports to the GPYC and relevant FACS District Director about its activities and make relevant information available to the local Aboriginal community.
Supporting the Development of LAGs in Aboriginal communities
Across the state several supports have been provided to communities who are seeking to establish a LAG in their communities:
- Grandmothers Against Removal (GMAR) NSW members have travelled to various communities to promote the Guiding Principles, to discuss establishing LAGs and to learn from communities who have made progress in developing a LAG. During these visits, GMAR NSW has meet with local communities and FACS district executives across the state.
- Several communities were invited to be a part of a two-day LAG Development Workshop. Here, representatives were able to meet and hear from areas that had already started a LAG process. Representatives were also able to access resources to support them to establish a LAG in their local communities. More workshops are scheduled to support more communities interested in establishing a LAG throughout 2017.
- Post workshop support is being provided by FACS project staff, for those communities working towards establishing a LAG.
Additional communities will be prioritised for meetings and support to establish a LAGs.
The LAG Development Workshop
The workshop provides attendees an opportunity to plan for establishing a working group, identify members, and prepare for the first LAG meeting.
To support discussion and planning from attendees, Yarning Circles were held:
- Yarning Circle - Who should be involved?
- Yarning Circle - What do we want to do?
- Yarning Circle - Action list
Further workshops are set to be held for additional communities working to establish a LAG.
Resources to support the establishment of LAGs
To support the successful establishment of LAGs, further optional resources have been developed: