Welcome to ACWA’s Aboriginal Out-of-Home Care Transition information and resource hub

Here you can find out the latest news about what’s happening with the transition of Aboriginal children and young people to ACCOs, and access resources and templates to help you in your transition planning.

Concrete actions
There is a lot happening in Closing the Gap initiatives throughout Australia and NSW. As Minister Burney stated, ‘Concrete actions are what is required to improve outcomes for First Nations people’. The Aboriginal transition project is an important concrete action that ACWA members are contributing to.

ACWA members are largely transition allies—committing to transition children and carers to ACCOs and appropriately supporting ACCOs as they diversify and grow. This includes collaborating with TAO, DCJ and working closely with AbSec and our member agencies to consolidate our shared efforts.

Sharing resources
To bolster our support to members and subsequent transitions, ACWA will share bi-monthly information, including project updates, topic guidance and resources. As an ACWA member, if you have resources you are willing to share—with or without your branding—please let us know. We would like to feature them.

Transition Plans
All PSP providers have been required to submit transition plans. While some agencies are well progressed, others are just getting started. PSP providers have received an Aboriginal Out of Home Care (OOHC) Transition Project Factsheet from DCJ intended to help inform this process.

There is a range of steps intended to support transition. The recent AbSec forum in Dubbo included a session to share learnings between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal providers. Another session is being planned between AbSec and ACWA, about which information will be shared here and via our transition e-newsletter.

ACWA has committed to establishing various resources and whilst we progress this, our focus is to help on some of the practice questions, provide bi-monthly updates, facilitate shared sessions and information between members, and partner with AbSec to support introductions and transition planning between agencies and ACCOs where requested.

An early action for ACWA is bringing together our members who have a large number of Aboriginal children with non-Aboriginal carers so that we can share ideas, resources and planning.

FaCs FosteringPhoto-141 ©Amanda James Three happy adults drinking tea together

Photo Credit: Amanda James

Online Support Groups for Carers and Caseworkers

Our Aboriginal OOHC Transition team will be hosting two regular online support groups via MS Teams: one for carers and a separate one for caseworkers, who want a safe space to ask questions or raise any concerns about the whole transition process in an informal setting.

Have a yarn with friendly with our project coordinator, BJ, who can let you know how transition is progressing in your area and all the positive outcomes that it'll bring about.

Held on the first Tuesday of every month.

For caseworkers: 9am to 10am. Please use this link.

For carers: 10.30am-11.30am. Please use this link.

Scan the QR code on the flyer below to access the session or click on the link above. Please note that you can also dial in anonymously.

Transition Communication

Agency Staff
Communicating with staff is an important first step in the transition process. If you have examples of staff communications (emails, leader sessions, fact sheets) that you would be happy to share with your sector colleagues in future updates, please send them to bj@acwa.asn.au

Carers
Consistent, positive, and affirmative carer messaging is essential in supporting successful transitions. We understand that the Minister Washington has communicated directly with carers to ensure they understand that the transition is government policy. Of course this means that you will want to have your carer communications ready so that your carers have access to your own messages and information should they look for information on your website, your internal newsletters etc.

Each agency knows how to best communicate changes to their own carers who may be affected by the transition. We understand that your approaches will vary but typically will include formal communication with the carer, carer information and meetings with stakeholders.

Examples of carer communication
Formal communication with carers needs to be supported by ready responses to questions.

ACWA is currently developing a sample carer communication template and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for member adaptation.

If your organisation has examples to share, your contributions are most welcome.

Being good allies
The next two years will see a lot of activity between ACCOs and NGOs as carers and children transition to ACCOs. Inside ACWA we will be participating in the DCJ-led meetings, working alongside AbSec to help both our memberships work smoothly with each other, and working with our ACWA members to assist them in the transition. At a recent AbSec Quarterly forum in Dubbo, many of the speakers stressed time and again the importance of focusing on the children and hearing the child’s voice throughout the process.

For non-Aboriginal agencies there is also an important step of stepping back and listening to our colleagues in AbSec and ACCOs—asking questions, rather than telling; letting go of control rather than holding onto power; trying to overcome barriers together, rather than letting them prevail.

Next Steps

This dedicated web page and our bimonthly newsletter will be updated with resources and information on steps to ensure we are all working co-operatively to achieve successful transition for Aboriginal children in line with National initiatives such as Closing the Gap and state initiatives such as Family is Culture and the overall transition of Aboriginal children to the Aboriginal Community Controlled sector.

To obtain further information, share resources or have a yarn about your agency’s next steps, please email bj@acwa.asn.au or call the ACWA team on 02 9281 8822.