“Every child needs guidance through a map of their personal identity, in order to feel safe in their ‘skin’ and to feel good about who they are. In order to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s cultural needs, we need to understand that culture is a powerful force that helps to ‘grow up’ the child.”
Culture is a fundamental part of identity and shapes who we are. For children in out-of-home care maintaining culture and connection is of critical importance. At KICS we are committed to ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people are provided with culturally supported care.
Our support workers are aware of the importance of connection and work to the best of their ability to keep kids connected to country, culture, and family.
This means regularly organising culturally appropriate immersions, seeking kinship connections, and providing opportunities for children to be involved in activities run by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Recently young people within the KICS program got to experience First Nation People’s culture first hand from the Ngutana-Lui Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies Centre on Yuggera and Jagera Country.
The lessons were based on Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal cultural customs and practices with the youth covering:
- Changing Structure of Torres Strait Island Families
- Hunter and Gatherer (Roles of Men and Women in Torres Strait Islander Culture)
- How Aboriginal Lore is Intrinsically Linked to Traditional and Contemporary Aboriginal Art
- Aboriginal Art relating to Lore and Kinship
- Traditional Games Teaching Aboriginal Lore
Cameron Eastment, KICS Support Worker reflected on the day as being a great success for all who attended. He says “The young people were engaged in the activities and lessons and fully participated. We are really looking forward to continuing to provide the children and young people with more activities like this in the future”.
By keeping children and young people connected to culture, we can nurture a deep sense of pride and build an understanding of their identity and belonging within each of them. The long-term outcome leads to happy, healthy children and a strong future for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
KICS Kinship and Foster Care Service (KICS KFC) is a child and young person centred, whole of family focused out of home care service resting on the foundation practice framework of the Family Partnership Model (FPM). This model provides out of home care support while maintaining a whole of family lens focused on wellbeing, attachment and bonding through case management and the application of family led decision making principles. Our team will work collaboratively with the whole family including parents, grandparents and extended family, to secure a stable and enduring kinship and foster care placement while it is required.
FANSHAWE, M; ABAWI, L; AND GUY, J ND Chapter 9: The importance of Indigenous cultural perspectives in education (The danger of the single story)
SNAICC, 2012 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Cultural Needs