Community-based Aboriginal staff taking the lead in family support: A case study of transforming practices prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic

Carolin Christa Stock, Maggie May Kerinaiua Punguatji, Aileen Tiparui, Kate Louise Johnston, Carmen Rose Cubillo, Gary Robinson

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The Play to Connect programme is an ongoing action research project investigating implementation of a parenting programme for families and children living in disadvantaged remote Aboriginal communities in Australia’s Northern Territory. The aim of this research was to identify critical skills and supports needed for community staff to deliver family support services in their community. The presented collaborative research project was undertaken by two community-based Aboriginal implementation officers and two visiting practitioners between March 2020 and December 2021. At this time, social service delivery was impacted by COVID-19 lockdown restrictions when visiting staff were temporarily permitted to fly into remote communities. The visiting practitioners interviewed the local Aboriginal community staff after family visits to explore how to build their professional competencies and contribute to the nature of programme delivery. Thematic analysis of the interviews and debriefing notes emphasise three key factors crucial in building professional competencies: experiential and reflective learning; partnership and collaboration; and increased self-efficacy. The promising practices identified have potential for broader application across Aboriginal communities to enhance cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary teamwork for service delivery. These professional development processes can ensure more accessible programmes for Indigenous communities based on cultural relevance and the diverse needs of participating families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Social Work Practice
Early online date4 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Aug 2023

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