Child Welfare Approaches for Indigenous Communities: International Perspectives.
Child Abuse Prevention Issues ; No. 20.
Australian Institute of Family Studies. National Child Protection Clearinghouse (Australia).
University of Technology, Sydney
Published: Autumn 2004
Publication Information: Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies
Available from: National Child Protection Clearinghouse
Level 20 South Tower, 485 La Trobe Street
Melbourne, Vic. 3000 Australia, Tel: +61 3 9214 7888
Fax: +61 3 9214 7839
Many of the problems associated with child abuse and neglect in communities are directly related to experiences of colonisation. Indigenous peoples in different countries and communities may have experienced colonial processes differently, but have experienced some common impacts. This paper provides a review of legislation and services delivered to Indigenous communities in Canada, the United States and New Zealand. A key finding in the research is that a "one size fits all approach" does not work. Particular attention is paid to new approaches to family and community wellbeing that focus work on community strengths and healing, and provide a less problem-focused picture of Indigenous communities. The paper describes a range of service models that focus on Indigenous collaboration, community development, community participation and community control. Although local solutions will need to be found for different Indigenous communities, there is a preference across Indigenous communities for holistic, multifaceted approaches that heal all sections of the community and address the underlying causes of health and social problems. Some key policy and practice recommendations for the development of better child protection and child welfare/family support systems are described. (Author abstract modified)
child welfare programs; child welfare services; child abuse; Canada; United States; New Zealand; Australia; indigenous populations; community based services; cultural sensitivity; cultural competency; family preservation