Concurrent Session - Day 1 - Pleiades Room

Community responses for Aboriginal children and young people

Angela Ryder & Lorraine Pryor

Angela Ryder is a Noongar woman of the south west of WA. Angela is a co-founder and committee member of Langford Aboriginal Association (LAA) and Senior Manager Aboriginal Services at Relationships Australia WA (RAWA) and works with Professor Pat Dudgeon at UWA with a focus on Cultural Social and Emotional Wellbeing. In her roles, Angela established initiatives and programs in the area of Grief and Loss as well as delivers a National Empowerment Project (NEP) Cultural, Social and Emotional Wellbeing program for Aboriginal community. She helped broker a partnership with the Women’s Legal Service WA to establish Djinda Service, a legal service which assists Aboriginal women affected by family violence and sexual assault.

Lorraine Pryor is a Whadjuk Ballardong Noongar women, an Aboriginal Family Safety Project Community Reference Group member with lived experience, a processing technician with BHP and a motivational Speaker of her own program called Voice of Hope

Aboriginal Family Safety Project

Aboriginal Family Safety Project: Engaging with Communities to Design a Culturally Appropriate Family Violence Program to Strengthen Aboriginal Family Safety. This presentation will provide an overview of the Aboriginal Family Safety Project including the background for the project, methodology, program logic, and project outcomes.
The Aboriginal Family Safety Project is a four-year project that is using a co-design approach to develop a culturally appropriate program to improve the safety and well-being of Aboriginal women experiencing family violence.
Aboriginal community members and key stakeholders have been engaged through a series of workshops to identify the safety issues facing local Aboriginal families, particularly women; identify ways to strengthen Aboriginal family safety; and contribute to the design and development of a culturally appropriate program to improve the safety and well-being of Aboriginal families in metropolitan and regional communities.
The project is informed by the National Empowerment Project, and supported by the Department of Communities and Royalty for Regions.

Cindy Ballard & Jane Miller

Cindy Ballard – Chair of Ngalla Yorga Waangkan Aboriginal Corporation – After many years supporting our women’s group we found ourselves without premises and though we all wanted to continue we couldn’t see how. Connecting Community for Kids offered us space to hold our group sessions, the women felt comfortable and supported enabling the group to provide cultural appropriate programs. Having regular groups reduced social isolation for the women and provided them access to positive learning opportunities around women’s health services for themselves, family and community. We also enjoyed food, art and crafts during these sessions. We are now incorporated, have our own premises and are supporting young ones in the community through the preparing of school lunches and now the implementation of the Silver Linings program. Today I thought I had retired but far from it, I am the Chair of this wonderful group who are working hard to address the challenges for aboriginal people in our community.

Jane Miller – Chief Executive Officer of Connecting Community for Kids – Jane has worked in senior roles across a variety of sectors including Banking, Health and Aging, Employment and within Federal Government. Working within community services as Operations Manager for several large NGOs with a focus on improving social, education and employment outcomes for Aboriginal people in regional and remote Western Australia. Jane is using her extensive experience in working with Government, service providers and community to lead the Backbone team for the Connecting Community for Kids initiative. Established in 2015 the place-based initiative is community led ensuring community members lead the change they want for children and families.

Silver Linings – Aboriginal led Crisis Response

Ngalla Yorga Waangkan Aboriginal Corporation collaborated with the local aboriginal community, Connecting Community for Kids and Rainbows WA to co design a Noongar specific Silver Linings – Indigenous Community Crisis Response Program for the Kwinana community.

Our aboriginal children are experiencing heightened uncertainty, vulnerability and trauma exacerbated by the COVID 19 pandemic. Families feel afraid, worried, anxious and overwhelmed by the constantly changing alerts and conflicting media coverage regarding the spread and containment of the virus within the community. Children and adults alike are facing emotional, social, educational and financial challenges in ways never experienced before. Rates of Family Domestic Violence continue to increase with the percentage of children who are at risk when starting school, the highest in the Metropolitain area.

The WA Silver Linings Noongar specific program has been created to foster emotional healing and resilience for young people and adults within Aboriginal Communities after a life altering crisis occurs. It is a supportive outlet for young people and community members and can be delivered through trained community facilitators within community.

The Silver Linings program will be delivered by Rainbows WA to local aboriginal community leaders who will then be able to facilitate the program to children in the local community. Building community capacity and providing sustainable support for the Kwinana community

Silver Linings is an age appropriate, curriculum-based resource available to schools, agencies and community organisations who assist children and families experiencing crisis. The program can be delivered in a variety of settings and structures. It involves 6 activity areas encouraging children to express their feelings through art, conversation and play. Connecting Community for Kids will facilitate the community engagement across the project.

Panel – Petrina Slater, Keiran Dent & Awhiora Nia Nia

Trina Slater – Wooree Miya Manager
Trina Slater is an Aboriginal woman from Perth with both Noongar (Whadjuk/Balardong) and Yamatji (Badimia) family ties. Trina is the Manager for Wungening’s Wooree Miya Refuge for women and children. A little more than 10yrs ago, whilst working part time in a primary school and also studying Early Childhood Education, she took up a support worker role at Wooree Miya and she hasn’t looked back since. Wungening’s commitment to increasing staff awareness and understanding of family and domestic violence has been the key to her commitment to working to keep Aboriginal women and children safe in a crisis.

Keiran Dent – General Manager Programs

Keiran Dent is a Ngarinyin Aboriginal Man whose belonging is in the West Kimberley of WA. Keiran is the General  Manager for Wungening Moort, an ACCO led intensive in-home support service for Aboriginal families connected to the child protection system. Within Keirans portfolio is also Wungening’s Alliance programs which includes a suite of programs that are delivered in partnership with other providers.  Keiran has worked with Aboriginal children and families in a variety of statutory and non-statutory roles for the better part of 10 years and is focussed on building ways of working that blend Aboriginal norms and values, with Western Clinical practices.

Keiran is a passionate believer that Aboriginal participation in all aspects of decision making is a necessary enabler of healing, and that healing is necessary to strengthen our families, create safety for our children, and thus address the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children in out of home care.

Awhiora Nia Nia –  Wungening General Manager Programs

Awhiora is a Maori woman originally from Aotearoa/NZ of Tuhoe and Kahungunu descent and is extremely passionate about Aboriginal advocacy and self-determination. Awhiora is the General Manager for Justice (Reintegration), Wooree Miya Services (FDV) and Alcohol and other Drugs Services. Awhiora has been in Australia 11 years and has managed a range of  community social services in Victoria and Western Australia, with the last two years within Wungening Aboriginal Corporation. Awhiora has a background in Social Work and Health Management and is very passionate about ensuring that services for vulnerable Aboriginal Women and children in particular, have service responses that have been informed from local indigenous voices ensuring that they are central to the solutions and their unique and complex needs are not only being heard, but implemented, resulting in positive gains and outcomes.


Balang Bidi (many Paths)

The panel will consist of Wooree Miya (Refuge), Wungening Moort (Child and Family Services), and Wungening AOD to discuss how a Shared Care approach to working with Aboriginal Women and Children can mitigate risk and increase protective factors – also highlighting a holistic approach whereby connections to culture, county and family is imperative to working with Aboriginal children and threaded into our responses and models of practise.

Panel – Renee Ronan, William Hayward & Glenda Kickett

Renee Ronan is a Whadjuk, Balladong, Noongar woman and the project lead for the Aboriginal Family Led-Decision Making pilot with the Department of Communities. Renee has worked for the Department for 15 years and for the last 10 was in the role of Aboriginal Practice Leader working with children and families in the Armadale district.

As an Aboriginal Practice Leader Renee was responsible for providing support to 120 staff across the Child Protection office providing consultation and making recommendations that upheld the Aboriginal Child Placement principles, self-determination, and community participation for local Aboriginal families. Renee was also responsible for supporting foster carers caring for Aboriginal children.

Renee is currently in the role of Acting Principle Consultant Aboriginal Policy in the Specialist Child Protection Unit working on the Aboriginal Family Led Decision Making pilot which has been an exciting project so far. She has enjoyed working in the co-design approach the Department and Aboriginal leaders who are members of the implementation group.

Renee is a wife and mother; she enjoys spending time with both her immediate and large extended family. Renee has 3 children, stepchildren, and a little grandson. The children range in age from young adults, to the two of primary school age, who are the only children currently living at home.

William Hayward, I am a Noongar man from Gorang/Minang clan groups. I have been raised to live with the integrity and honour of my people’s culture, our customs and the strengths embedded in our family and community systems. In my experience, to be Aboriginal is not a deficiency, but a unique strength. My culture has formed the basis of foundation of stability in my life and this has been testament of empowerment and resilience. 

I particularly champion Aboriginal peoples right to self determination and our own community led solutions. I am currently employed at Aboriginal Interpreting WA as a Social and Emotional Wellbeing Officer and as an Aboriginal Researcher within the Navigating through life project for children in out of home care at Curtin University.   ​

​I hold a Bachelor in Social Work. Throughout my career I have worked in Government agencies and Non – For Profit Organisations. I have developed a set of skills in delivering service to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across child protection & safety | counselling | policy and law reform | training and presenting | cultural competency and practice | trauma informed practice and frameworks | social work | youth work | program development | lobbying | advocacy | cultural ceremony and healing performing arts.​ 

I also am strongly committed to empowering Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander and Non-Aboriginal Australians to achieve equality and freedoms in a variety of practice or community environments

Glenda Kickett belongs to the Whadjuk and Ballardong peoples of the Bibbulumun Nyungah nation from the South-West of Western Australia through both her mother and father’s family lines. She is a Social Worker, having graduated from the University of Western Australia (UWA) in 1993; has a Master of Arts from Curtin University in Indigenous Research and Development in 2004; and is completing a PhD in Social Work at UWA.

Glenda is the Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement at the Australian Childhood Foundation and has worked to support and advocate for Aboriginal children and families in Out-of-Home care, family support and reunification programs within government and non-government organisations for nearly thirty years.  She also lectures part-time in the School of Social Work in the unit: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledges and Worldviews in Social Work.

She is the Chairperson of NAIDOC Perth Inc. which presents the NAIDOC Week Perth Opening Ceremony, NAIDOC Perth Ball, NAIDOC Perth Awards, and Miss NAIDOC Empowerment and Leadership Program.  She is as a Member of the Noongar Family Safety Wellbeing Council; Director on the Board of Wungening Aboriginal Corporation; Chairperson of Shooting Stars, Glass Jar Australia, an education program for young Aboriginal women in rural and remote regions with Netball WA; Co-Chair of Social Reinvestment WA to raise awareness of the over presentation of Indigenous people in the justice system; a consortium member of Naala Djookan, Family and Domestic Violence Hub; and a member of the Aboriginal Family Led Decision Making Reference Group for the Department of Communities.

Panel – Aboriginal Family Led decision Making

In depth discussion around the co-design between Department of Communities and Aboriginal Communities in relation to family led decision making.