NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alert: NACCHO upholds the theme, ‘We are the Elders of tomorrow, hear our voice’ on National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations improving life and health outcomes for our Elders of tomorrow

Referring to the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) coordinated National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day held on 4 August each year for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to celebrate the strengths and culture of their children, NACCHO Chair Donnella Mills said:

“For decades, our Elders have shown great resolve and have sacrificed and fought for advancing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights. Their efforts cannot be forgotten as they paved the way for our children to live healthier and stronger lives.

“We are so proud of the work done by our members – Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, towards improving the health outcomes of our children, our Elders of tomorrow.

“We are pleased that our recently signed National Agreement for Closing the Gap targets commits governments to build a strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled sector to deliver services and programs. Within the commitments, one of the sector strengthening plans focuses on early childhood care and development and another key priority is education, thereby looking at holistic life and health outcomes for our future generations.”

Wuchopperen Health Service Qld – First Time Mum’s Program

One of the many NACCHO member programs promoting child health and wellbeing is the Wuchopperen Health Service in Cairns QLD. This ACCHO delivers the Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program (ANFPP), known in the community as the ‘First Time Mum’s Program’. It is a client-centred, home visiting program that provides care and support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mums throughout their first pregnancy, right until their child turns two.

Wuchopperen Health Service have successfully supported over 400 families since the program began and Nurse Supervisor of the ANFPP, Samantha Lewis said, “100% of the babies who have come through the program were fully immunised by the time they turned two, which has had a significant impact on the long-term health of babies. Also, 97% of our babies were within a healthy birth weight range. This is a huge achievement and sets up a solid base for the rest of the child’s life.”

This year, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day’s theme ‘We are the Elders of tomorrow, hear our voice’ honours our Elders, custodians of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditional knowledge, passed down to our children through stories and cultural practice.

Click here to download National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day resources to share within your communities.

Download our What does culture mean to me? resource. Have fun drawing and email it to media@snaicc.org.au to be part of our Children’s Day promotions.

NACCHO Aboriginal Childrens Heath : Ngaoara set to improve child and adolescent wellbeing

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We believe that repeated traumatic experiences in childhood – including exposure to violence, abuse, removal, neglect – contribute to a significant proportion of the disparities in morbidity and mortality experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. But we can do something about it.”

“We want to end violence against children.

There is no greater privilege than a child. Our children may be our future, but they are also our present and our most sacred responsibility “

Senior Aboriginal clinician and researcher, Professor Ngiare Brown.

A passion to improve Aboriginal child and adolescent wellbeing is the key driving force behind the launch of Ngaoara, a not-for-profit recently established by senior Aboriginal clinician and researcher, Professor Ngiare Brown.

Ngaoara is committed to supporting Aboriginal communities, organisations and service providers to develop and deliver child centric, trauma informed and whole of community responses to complex social issues, and to work to eliminate violence against children.

“Whilst there is a growing rhetoric around trauma and trauma informed care, there are too few Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations supported to lead the discussion, or deliver tangible responses,” says Ngaoara Founding Director, Professor Ngiare Brown.

Statistics confirm that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adolescents continue to experience higher rates of poor health, community violence, removal and incarceration than other Australian children. Ngaoara was established to help stop these trends.

See NACCHO TV for recent interview with Dr Ngiare Brown when she worked at Winnunga

“We know that adverse exposures during childhood can significantly affect how our children grow up, and can significantly impact outcomes across the life course – from bonding and attachment; emotional and behavioural regulation; learning; and social engagement and interpersonal skills; through to school performance; risk taking behaviours and chronic disease (including cancers, heart disease and mental health issues).”

“We believe that repeated traumatic experiences in childhood – including exposure to violence, abuse, removal, neglect – contribute to a significant proportion of the disparities in morbidity and mortality experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. But we can do something about it.”

“We want to end violence against children. We find that the conversations about family violence are usually focused on adults, with the voice of children being largely absent from discussions. Ngaoara’s focus is on Aboriginal children and adolescents and prioritising support for their social, cultural and clinical needs.”

“Ngaoara is willing to provide a platform whereby we can give voice to the very difficult conversations and not be afraid to talk about the hard issues when it comes to childhood wellbeing. We want all of our children to know what it is to grow up being loved and valued unconditionally.

“Utilising strength based approaches, Ngaoara aims to connect and reconnect our children and young people with their culture in order to promote a positive sense of self and identity, build resilience, and improve outcomes for health, education and social participation,” says Professor Brown.

Ngaoara was established in 2015, and in 2016 was successful in receiving Department of Health seed funding to begin work on the Trauma Assessment, Referral and Recovery Outreach Teams (TARROT) project, a ‘lighthouse’ initiative currently being modelled in the ACT, northern NSW, and SA/NT. The TARROT modelling involves establishing multidisciplinary in-reach and outreach teams to provide primary care, allied health and specialist services, and intensive case management to children and their families through local schools and Aboriginal Health Services.

“The Ngaoara team is working in partnership with community members and service providers to build locally responsive, child centric programs with the support of qualified specialists, and the TARROT project has been developed to provide more timely access to specialist teams with expertise in trauma; to provide children and carers with individualized care and support plans; and to develop whole of community wellbeing partnerships to manage the impacts of trauma.

“We aim to be able to translate best research into best practice. We also hope that over time the TARROT modeling activities will help build the evidence base for clinical, social and cultural best practice approaches for at risk children and their families, and be better placed to inform policy, resourcing and service delivery decision-making.”

“There is no greater privilege than a child. Our children may be our future, but they are also our present and our most sacred responsibility.”

For more information on Ngaoara and its programs, visit www.ngaoara.org.au.

You can also sign up to the Ngaoara newsletter.

NACCHO kids health news: AMA – Give Aboriginal children a healthy start

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Article by: Motherpedia

The AMA President says health should be the priority for Indigenous children.

A healthy start for Indigenous children should be a priority for any Federal Government according to the AMA.

The peak medical association has called for increased efforts to improve the health of Indigenous children.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said evidence showed the importance of a good start in life for future health, and improved early childhood development among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples needed to be a policy priority for the Federal Government.

“Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are growing up in circumstances that are no better than those experienced in Third World countries, rather than a wealthy nation such as ours,” Dr Hambleton said.

“This can set them up for a lifetime of poor health that costs them, their families and the broader community dearly.

“The Federal Government needs to show foresight in heading these problems off before they develop by investing in a healthy start for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.”

Dr Hambleton said the AMA would like to see the Government to develop a stronger and more sustained focus on early childhood development programs that had been shown to work.

He said the AMA was playing its role by sponsoring research to identify where the developmental needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were greatest, and recommend measures to achieve improvement.

The results of the AMA research will be included in a report to to be released later this year.