Community Services is committing more than $3 million to pilot a service that improves outcomes for Aboriginal children and young people in the Moree and Shellharbour areas. Pius X Aboriginal Corporation will run the Moree service and Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation will run Shellharbour.
Protecting Aboriginal Children Together (PACT) is based on a successful Victorian model, Lakidjeka, designed to improve how child protection services work with Aboriginal families to keep Aboriginal children safe. Lakidjeka has been running in Victoria for over 20 years and its adaptation in NSW was recommended by Justice James Wood in his Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection.
*Source: Higgins, J.R. and Butler, N. (2007). Indigenous responses to child protection issues. ‘Promising Practices in out-of-home care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Carers, Children and Young People’ (booklet 4). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Community Services and the Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat (AbSec) co-developed the PACT service model.
Community Services Northern Region Regional Director Susan Priivald and Southern Region Regional Director Jill Herberte explain: “AbSec and Community Services are concerned about the over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in the out-of-home care and juvenile justice systems. PACT will work toward addressing this over-representation by actively engaging Aboriginal families and communities on a local level to ensure children’s safety and wellbeing.”
PACT will provide cultural advice to Community Services to assist working with Aboriginal children and young people, and will support families by:
The two new PACT services will be piloted until 30 June 2014. Pius X Aboriginal Corporation will receive $496,000 per annum and a one-off establishment amount of $80,000; the Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation will receive the same annual allocation and a one-off $100,000 to establish the service.