As we work towards the development of our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), some of our teams have recently gathered with other delegates from around the country and overseas to discuss our challenges and share our knowledge and experiences in raising happy, healthy and confident children in our communities.
In September, Robyn Antenucci, Katie Price, Margaret Drayton, Nola Earnshaw and June Mader attended the 8th Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) Conference; convened to drive the achievement of the SNAICC vision: An Australian society in which our communities are empowered to determine their own future; where the rights of our children, young people and families are protected; where our cultural identity and achievements are valued; and our children and families have access to culturally appropriate services.
SNAICC is the largest Conference of its type in the southern hemisphere and brings together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, policy makers, researchers, government representatives, other non-government organisations and industry representatives to hear about issues and actions across Australia in improving outcomes for Aboriginal Children. This included all attendees making a renewed commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
With the theme of "Growing up with strong identity, culture and connection," the Conference provided a powerful and inspiring learning experience for all attendees, featuring over 70 concurrent sessions, yarning circles, panels and workshops.
The highlights of the conference from our teams were:
- Hearing keynote speaker Isaiah Dawe from ID. Know Yourself. Isaiah spoke of the importance of building hope for young people like himself who are transitioning out of care/foster care into the community; his message was "Hope in the future - is power in the present."
- The feeling of optimism; seeing and hearing the stories of many people doing good work in urban, regional and remote settings.
- The opportunity to contribute ideas and strategies to the National Sexual Abuse Strategy for Aboriginal and DCALD communities as facilitated by Federal Government representatives.
- Collaborating with the well represented West Australian organisations in attendance; sharing achievements in research and policy development as well as innovation in service delivery.
"Participating in Healing Through Art, including chanting and singing in language and using natural materials was a very moving experience," Nola said of one of the workshops.
Margaret said of her experience, "I got a greater insight into the diversity and rights of children and their voices being included in policy development. The voices of children are an important element of child placement policy and thus, adding the voices of children supports and represents Aboriginal and Islander peoples and how they are supporting and growing children Australia wide."
The SNAICC Conference was inspiring for our teams as it visually represented the commitment of Aboriginal and Islander peoples to find solutions that included the involvement of elders in advisory roles and in genealogical mapping, helping children connect to family. Additionally, community consultations with government and non-government agencies in policy design and partnership formations with trusted organisations was indicative of us all working towards self-determination – an innovative approach we'd like to emulate with our next RAP as part of our organisational commitment to reconciliation.
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