Pro­gram to help con­nect kids, cul­ture

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - NEWS - Michael Philipps

A PART­NER­SHIP be­tween Woolk­a­bun­ning Ki­aka and MacKil­lop Fam­ily Ser­vices has launched a pro­gram to sup­port Abo­rig­i­nal chil­dren in out-of-home care at Roe­lands Village.

The Other Home Care pro­gram in­tro­duces a new model to sup­port Abo­rig­i­nal chil­dren and young peo­ple in care that nur­tures a con­nec­tion to their cul­ture and com­mu­nity.

Woolk­a­bun­ning Ki­aka chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Les Wal­lam said that con­nec­tion to cul­ture and com­mu­nity was at the heart of the pro­gram.

“As early as 2010, a group of Elders, all women and re­spected as South West WA com­mu­nity lead­ers, be­came con­cerned about the high num­bers of Abo­rig­i­nal chil­dren in out-of-home care,” Mr Wal­lam said.

“In WA, 52.1 per cent of chil­dren in care are Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der and this in­cludes many in the care of non-Abo­rig­i­nal fam­i­lies where the elders could see cul­tural strength­en­ing and iden­tity was be­ing lost in most cases.

“Elders were also con­cerned about the tra­jec­tory of these chil­dren as they be­came ado­les­cents and their be­hav­iour be­came more chal­leng­ing.

“The Other Home Care model helps us reach more Abo­rig­i­nal chil­dren who are feel­ing lost and we can bring them into this nur­tur­ing en­vi­ron­ment to help them find their way back and make their own con­nec­tions to our com­mu­nity.”

MacKil­lop chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Robyn Miller said she had been closely in­volved with the de­vel­op­ment of the new model.

“Roe­lands Village pro­vides pro­grams to re-en­gage chil­dren and young peo­ple with ed­u­ca­tion, cul­tural en­rich­ment ac­tiv­i­ties, pre­em­ploy­ment train­ing and self­es­teem build­ing,” she said.

“The site in­cludes a work­ing farm, ac­com­mo­da­tion, an ed­u­ca­tion con­fer­ence cen­tre with a com­mer­cial kitchen and an emerg­ing, edi­ble bush foods gar­den and play area for chil­dren.” The pro­gram was launched on Mon­day.

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