The Communities for Children Initiative is an ongoing early intervention and prevention initiative funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS) under the Families and Children Activity of the Families and Communities Programme that aims to deliver positive and sustainable outcomes for children and families in disadvantaged communities throughout Australia.
Communities for Children provides services to ensure children have the best start in life by focusing on prevention and early intervention approaches that bring about positive family functioning, safety and child development outcomes for children and their families. CfC’s are place based and develop and facilitate a whole of community approach to support and enhance early childhood development and wellbeing for children from birth to 12 years.
The Mt Druitt Communities for Children (CfC) initiative has been in operation for almost a decade with Mission Australia as the Facilitating Partner.
Facilitating Partners build on local strengths to meet local community needs and create capability within local service systems, using strong evidence of what works in early intervention and prevention. They collaborate with other organisations to provide a holistic service system for children and families.
Aboriginal Capacity Building Project
The Aboriginal Capacity Building Project aims to assist local community service organisations and other relevant child & family focused agencies to develop their capacity to offer culturally competent and culturally respectful services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.
The project is about building the capacity of non-Aboriginal organisations to deliver services in the Mount Druitt area in a respectful and culturally competent way to Aboriginal children, individuals, families and community. Ongoing education and mentoring of the organisations is part of the process to build sustainable change.
They will be taken on an educational journey to acknowledge, consider and respect Aboriginal people, families and community in all aspects of delivering of services.
The program aims to establish and build strong collaborative ongoing relationships with Aboriginal organisations in Western Sydney, who will be their mentors and guides.
What is cultural competence & cultural respect?
Cultural competence is “the knowledge and understanding of Indigenous Australian cultures, histories and contemporary realities and awareness of Indigenous protocols, combined with the proficiency to engage and work effectively in Indigenous contexts congruent to the expectations of Indigenous Australian peoples” (National Best Practice Framework for Indigenous Cultural Competency in Australian Universities, Universities Australia. (2011). Canberra: Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) Retrieved from http://www.universitiesaustralia.edu.au/lightbox/1312.
There are four dimensions of cultural competency – systemic, organisational, professional and individual – which interrelate so that cultural competence at an individual or professional level is underpinned by systemic and organisational commitment and capacity (Toolkit for Indigenous Service Provision, FaHCSIA).
The goal of increasing an organisation’s cultural competence is to achieve cultural respect which is defined as “recognition, protection and continued advancement of the inherent rights, cultures and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples”, noting that cultural respect can only be achieved when service providers create an environment in which cultural differences are respected, and Indigenous peoples can feel culturally safe (A Best Practice Approach to Cultural Competence Training, Farrelly, T & Lumby, B. Aboriginal Health Worker Journal, Sept/Oct 2009, Vol 33 (5).)