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Aboriginal Case Management Policy and Guidelines Co-designing

The Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), Programs and Service Design Unit has been working over the past 18 months to deliver a new Aboriginal Case Management Policy and accompanying Guidelines.

The policy and guidelines will respond to the specific needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and children across the care spectrum from early intervention to child protection and out of home care (OOHC) including after care and be applicable across all stages of case management, including cultural and case planning, implementation, monitor and review.

Cox Inall Ridgeway were recruited by FACS (in conjunction with the Case Management Project Advisory Group) to deliver phase one of a four phase co-design project (phase two to four are yet to be scheduled by FACS). Phase one consisted of two parts, producing a Situation Analysis report detailing the current status of Case Management across the spectrum in NSW and creating a Co-design Stakeholder Engagement Design Plan, applicable only to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Situation Analysis was informed by a desk top review, FACS literature, statistics and materials provided from previous activities of the project group prior to Cox Inall Ridgeway’s recruitment. It also noted key issues and data to assist in framing the approach to the Co-design Stakeholder Engagement Design Plan; this included capturing outcomes that would need to be considered in the development of the new policy and guidelines.

The Co-design Stakeholder Engagement Design Plan has been designed to deliver an authentic co-design engagement approach with which FACS and the project group are able to consult with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in NSW in future phases of the project. Thus, ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are able to co-design a new policy that reflects and meets the needs of the children, young people, family and communities.

The Design Plan was informed by the voices of key stakeholders in NSW (Aboriginal Service Providers, FACS employees, Carers, Intensive Family Based workers, community members and advocacy groups). 8 consultations were held in the Sydney Metropolitan area, providing participants with a platform to provide feedback as to the ‘who, how, and where’ the engagement process should focus.

Participants were given the opportunity to explore their experiences of the case management process, including issues and concerns, as they may relate to the existing policy. The meetings were in a culturally and professionally safe environment and led to open and positive discussions and ultimately, provided outcomes which would benefit the continued activities in the creation of the new policy.

Through our work on the project, Cox Inall Ridgeway has demonstrated a strong and comprehensive understanding of issues that are related to policies supporting Aboriginal families. We understand that engagement on these issues, often raises and brings up other, related topics which can be of a highly sensitive nature. We are acutely aware of the interrelationships and connectedness of policies and issues across portfolios and have demonstrated this understanding and sensitivity in our approach.