Consultations were undertaken on the draft National Principles and on how cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people can be implemented across a broad range of organisations.
In January 2018, the Child Safe Organisations project held a forum on Child Safe Organisations and cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
The Hon Ken Wyatt, MP, Minister for Indigenous Health opened the forum, which was co-chaired by the National Children’s Commissioner and Richard Weston, CEO of the Healing Foundation. Indigenous leaders in the fields of health, mental health, and child and family support attended.
The forum considered a background paper on cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people, and sought feedback on the draft National Principles from a cultural safety perspective.
Key themes emerging from the forum were outlined in the Child Safe Organisations project February 2018 e-newsletter. These included:
- Defining cultural safety. The SNAICC definition of cultural safety was discussed and generally supported: within the context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in out of home care, cultural safety encompasses the child being provided with a safe, nurturing and positive environment where they are comfortable with being themselves, expressing their culture…their spiritual and belief systems, and they are supported by the carer and family.
- Cultural safety as being integral to organisational safety, not an ‘add on’, including discussion of how a lack of cultural safety contributes to child abuse and the business case for investing in prevention.
- The link between cultural safety and human rights, including self-determination; and the gap between these rights and actual practice.
- The link between culture and wellbeing with Aboriginality being a strength.
- The lack of referencing to cultural safety and Aboriginal concerns and priorities in the draft National Principles, including the need to more clearly prioritise cultural safety and to place Aboriginal children within the context of their families and communities.
The draft National Principles were revised following these consultations.
The Child Safe Organisations project is considering the next stage of this work and, in collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, plans to develop resources and guidance for organisations on cultural safety.