Additional requirements for Aboriginal children

Follow this procedure when working with Aboriginal children.
Document ID number 1401, version 3, 19 November 2019.

Aboriginal children are significantly over represented in the child protection and out-of-home care population. A greater understanding of and commitment to practice approaches which take account of Aboriginal history, culture, family relationships and parenting arrangements, is likely to better meet the best interests of Aboriginal children.

For addtional information see Responding to Aboriginal children - advice.


Case practitioner tasks

  • Consult your supervisor and document additional assessment and other required actions for an Aboriginal child.
  • Consult ACSASS prior to making significant decisions. Significant decisions include:
    • classification of a report
    • substantiation
    • the permanency objective for a child
    • significant decisions regarding:
      • care arrangements
      • contact between a child and their parents and others
      • cultural support
      • education, health or developmental support
      • involvement of other agencies and services
    • preparation and review of a case plan
    • removal or return of a child from parental care
    • court applications
    • entry or exit at a secure welfare service
    • placement changes
    • breaches, revocations, variations and extensions of orders
    • reunification decisions
    • case transfers
    • case closure.
  • Share information with ACSASS and seek ACSASS participation in planning processes.

ACSASS is authorised to receive information about the record of investigation of a protective intervention report. Parental consent is not required.

ACSASS workers are able to provide cultural advice in the information gathering and planning phases.

Contact with a local Aboriginal community controlled organisation or other programs within VACCA does not replace the requirement to consult with ACSASS.

Further information can be found in the ACSASS program requirements.

  • In cases beyond intake, advise the child and family of the requirement for the department to consult ACSASS and the reason for this.
  • Seek their views and consent for ACSASS staff to attend visits and planning meetings.
    • If consent is declined, advise the family that ACSASS will continue to be consulted about significant responsibilities and decisions consistent with child protection’s legal duties.
  • Record ACSASS consultations in CRIS and consult your supervisor to determine next steps.
  • Contact other Aboriginal services, ensuring compliance with information sharing provisions, to inform assessment and if required refer for service.
  • When an investigation is substantiated or a final protection order is made, refer for an Aboriginal family-led decision making (ALFDM) meeting.
  • Refer for AFLDM meeting whenever a meeting is appropriate as part of the case planning process.
  • Organise for ACSASS to attend client contact visits, planning meetings and court hearings. Include relevant cultural information from ACSASS in court reports.
    • Record a rationale in CRIS if this is not appropriate or possible or where consent is declined.
  • Consult ACSASS about the content of a case plan being developed or under review, and seek specific advice on identifying and meeting the child’s cultural support needs as part of the case plan. 
  • If placement in out-of-home care is likely or necessary, consult ACSASS beforehand unless this would result in an unreasonable delay, or as soon as possible after placement.
  • Arrange for a cultural pan to be provided to an Aboriginal child in out-of-home care.
Related procedures