Emerging Minds
Learning
1hr 30mins

Working with First Nations families and children: A framework for understanding

About the course

This course will assist you, as a non-Indigenous practitioner, to develop the skills and understanding to build genuine partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities.

It will also help you to understand how this will benefit and enrich you personally and professionally.

You are invited to approach this learning with curiosity, as well as a willingness to reflect on the cultural lens each of us brings to interactions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and to consider the impact this has on engagement with those families.

The course will also provide you with a 'Framework for Understanding' that will enhance your engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and has been based on the narratives and lived-experience of First Nations peoples. It will also provide you with practice tips, stories and reflections.

The preferred terminology used by Emerging Minds in our resources is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, as guided by our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Emotional Wellbeing National Consultancy Group.

Who is this course for?

This course is for non-Indigenous practitioners who work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families, and communities. It has been developed with the support and guidance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, to specifically support non-Indigenous practitioners in mainstream organisations to engage with First Nations families.

Learning aims

This course will help you to:

  • understand the history and context of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, families and individuals
  • gain a clearer understanding of the context of a presenting problem or issue within families' lives
  • understand the worries, concerns and aspirations that families have regarding their children’s social and emotional wellbeing
  • develop a deeper understanding of the context of a Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families' experiences, and how this affects wellbeing, as well as contributes to the protective factors that help families recover
  • broaden your understanding of the role and influence of kinship and family relationships in infant's and children’s social and emotional wellbeing.

Assessment

All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resources developed by Emerging Minds aim to ‘decentre’ the expert. With this fundamental principle in mind, and with guidance from our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consultancy group, this course will not provide you with a certificate.

The reasoning behind this is:

  • Cultural competency trainings should be provided by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations.
  • Emerging Minds does not endorse this resource being used to meet cultural training requirements.
  • Engaging with, and valuing, local knowledge and connections is the core principle for any work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and therefore takes precedence over a centralised training course.

Self-care

As you work through the course, it is important to be aware of your own emotional responses. Please follow the self-care tips below and seek help if needed:

  • We do not recommend undertaking the entire course in one go.
  • Give yourself some breaks.
  • Even if you don’t feel that you need a break, it’s a good idea to take one anyway and come back later. 
  • Be aware of your emotions as you progress through the course, and take action if you are starting to feel stressed or upset. For example, consider taking a break and doing something for yourself that you enjoy.
  • Be aware of your emotional responses after you complete the course.

If at any point you find you are struggling, please talk with your supervisor, seek help, or call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, or SANE Australia on 1800 18 7263. 

Definitions

For the purpose of this course, the term parent encompasses the biological and adoptive parents of a child, as well as individuals who have taken up a primary or shared responsibility in raising that child. 

Social and emotional wellbeing refers to the way a person thinks and feels about themselves and others. It incorporates behavioural and emotional strengths and is a facet of child development.1

In broad terms, social and emotional wellbeing is the foundation for physical and mental health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is a holistic concept which results from a network of relationships between individuals, family, kin and Community. It also recognises the importance of connection to Land, culture, spirituality and ancestry, and how these affect the individual.2

Social and emotional development involves the development of skills required to:

  • identify and understand one’s feelings 
  • read and understand the emotional states of other people 
  • manage strong emotions and how they are expressed 
  • regulate behaviour 
  • develop empathy
  • establish and maintain relationships.3

References

  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2012). Social and emotional wellbeing: development of a Children’s Headline Indicator. Cat. no. PHE 158. Canberra: AIHW.
  2. Commonwealth of Australia. (2017). National strategic framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ mental health and social and emotional wellbeing. Canberra: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, p.6.
  3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2009. A picture of Australia’s children. 2009. Cat. no. PHE 112. Canberra: AIHW.

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