New residential care model to help Aboriginal children stay connected and overcome trauma

15.05.2019
Better Services

The State Government has engaged InComPro to establish an Aboriginal-specific residential care service for young people that is both therapeutic and culturally responsive. 

The ground-breaking Northern suburbs service, which is scheduled to open later this month, will house four Aboriginal young people across two homes. 

InComPro is now one of two Aboriginal community-controlled organisations that specialise in providing residential care for Aboriginal young people. 

The new service has been developed in response to the closure of the 12-bed Queenstown Community Unit, which was earmarked to be closed late last year following ongoing concerns about the care of young people living in the large-scale residential care facility. 

Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson said the new model would provide a safe and culturally responsive environment for Aboriginal young people. 

“Getting out-of-home care right for Aboriginal young people is a key priority for the State Government,” said Minister Sanderson.

“We know the statistics show there is an over representation of Aboriginal children and young people in care and that is why it is imperative for us to have a strong focus on maintaining connections to family, community and cultural identity.

“We want to support young people to engage in cultural activities that will build and maintain strong connections with Aboriginal culture, kin, identity and community.

“The young people will also receive intensive therapeutic care, focused on cultural healing as well as the impacts of past trauma.

“We believe this new service is a positive step forward in providing greater support for young people who need it most.”

The specialised model of care was developed with culture at the forefront of a therapeutic approach.

InComPro Chief Executive Officer Steve Newchurch said the new model was a significant step for Aboriginal young people in care.

“As an Aboriginal community-controlled organisation, we understand the importance of helping our young people to develop their culture and identity safely and having their life history recorded as they grow up,” said Mr Newchurch.

“We will support them to have contact with their families, friends, culture, spiritual sources and communities, while supporting their healing and development.

“Our goal is to help these young people develop the relational skills and behaviours they need to transition to less intensive care options, while maintaining strong connections with Aboriginal culture, kin and community.”

Department for Child Protection Chief Executive Cathy Taylor said the shift in approach reflected the department’s commitment to having smaller and more home-like residential care homes to better meet the needs of young people in care.

Background

This therapeutic residential care model will be provided to young people, primarily aged 10 to 17 years, who have been assessed as having a complex or extreme level of support needs. Therapeutic residential care provides a more intensive placement option for young people who are unable to be placed in other forms of residential care or family-based care options.

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