The social and emotional wellbeing needs of Aboriginal staff in out of home care: Walking in two worlds
Child Abuse and Neglect
Background: There is a disproportionate representation of Aboriginal children in the Australian Out of Home Care system. An important strategy to ensure Aboriginal children experience trauma informed care that is culturally situated is to have access to Aboriginal practitioners. The experiences of Aboriginal practitioners working in Aboriginal Out of Home Care have not been explored thoroughly. Participants and setting: This community led research was undertaken on Dharawal Country on the South Coast of the Illawarra region, Australia with an Out of Home Care program managed by an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation. The study included Aboriginal (n = 50) and non-Aboriginal (n = 3) participants connected through employment or community membership to the organisation. Objective: We aimed to explore the wellbeing needs of Aboriginal practitioners working with Aboriginal children in Aboriginal Out of Home Care. Methods: This co-designed qualitative research project used yarning sessions (individual and group), co-analysis with co-researchers, document analysis and reflexive writing. Findings: Aboriginal practitioners are required to bring their cultural expertise to their work and with this, there is an expectation of cultural leadership and the fulfilling of cultural responsibilities. These elements bring with them emotional labour that must be acknowledged and accounted for in working in the Out of Home Care sector. Conclusion: The findings point to the importance of establishing an organisational social and emotional wellbeing framework in recognition of Aboriginal practitioner's specific needs, centring cultural participation as a key wellbeing and trauma informed strategy.
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University of Wollongong