Woon-Yah Ngullah Goorlanggass Therapeutic Kinship Care Program

Caring for our Children

The Australian Childhood Foundation are extremely grateful to the WA Department of Attorney General’s Crimes Confiscation Fund and Lottery West financially supporting us over two years to develop, deliver and evaluate an innovative culturally responsive, trauma informed model of therapeutic placement support for Aboriginal young people who are subject to the involvement of child protection and/or juvenile justice and their kinship/relative carers across Greater Perth. 

The focus on support for Aboriginal kinship/relative carers addresses a critical gap in service provision to this vulnerable group. The pilot program uses a trauma-informed approaches embedded within a cultural framework, focusing on the strength that can be drawn from connection to culture and use this as primary platform upon which the program will be based. 

The pilot program is drawing on the extensive experience of the Australian Childhood Foundation in the provision of therapeutic models of out of home care, including therapeutic kinship care in the ACT. The model will provide assertive outreach and intensive support to the relative carers and young people. Involvement with the relative carers and young person will be goal directed and reviewed regularly.  It is anticipated that involvement may last from 3 – 18 months with the average involvement of 8-10 months in duration.

The pilot runs for 2 years, and although not yet complete, we have already achieved the following:

  • Consistent support and work with the Carers and listening to their stories
  • Building strong, respectful and trusting relationships with the Carers, children and young people
  • Supporting the children and young people with their cultural connection and identity
  • Clarification of roles and responsibility of the Department as the legal guardians of the children and young people
  • Support and advocacy on behalf of the children and young people
  • Assisting the Carers to voice their issues and concerns in caring for the children and young people with their trauma needs
  • Advocating on behalf of the children and young people, and the Carer with the schools in regards to behaviour and learning needs
  • Attendance at inter-agency meetings with the Carers
  • Linking Carers, children and young people to other therapeutic services
  • Supporting Carers and children with health and psychological assessments
  • Assisting to build a team approach to supporting the Carer, children and young people

We look forward to reporting further outcomes at the completion of the pilot. 

What are the essential elements of therapeutic foster care programs?

With the increasing interest in therapeutic approaches to the care of traumatised children and young people that are now many programs that describe themselves as therapeutic foster care, and these can differ significantly. In this article, I have listed the core elements that I believe are central to the delivery of foster care which has a trauma informed therapeutic intent.