The role of Aboriginal family workers in delivering a child safety-focused home visiting programme for Aboriginal families in an urban region of New South Wales
Issue addressed: Aboriginal Australian children experience higher rates of injury than other Australian children. However, few culturally acceptable programmes have been developed or evaluated. The Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service (IAMS) developed the Safe Homes Safe Kids programme as an injury prevention programme targeting disadvantaged Aboriginal families with children aged 0‐5 in an urban region of New South Wales. Delivered by Aboriginal Family Workers (AFWs), the programme aims to reduce childhood injury by raising awareness of safety in the home. A programme evaluation was conducted to determine the effectiveness of the home visiting model as an injury prevention programme. This study reports on the qualitative interviews which explored the ways in which clients, IAMS staff and external service providers experienced the programme and assessed its delivery by the AFWs.
Methods: A qualitative programme evaluation was conducted between January 2014 and June 2015. We report here on the semi‐structured interviews undertaken with 34 individuals.
Results: The results show increased client engagement in the programme; improved child safety knowledge and skills; increased access to services; improved attitudes to home and community safety; and changes in the home safety environment.
Conclusions: Safe Homes Safe Kids provides a culturally appropriate child safety programme delivered by AFWs to vulnerable families. Clients, IAMS staff and external service were satisfied with the family workers' delivery of the programme and the holistic model of service provision.
So what? This promising programme could be replicated in other Aboriginal health services to address unintentional injury to vulnerable Aboriginal children.