Protecting Aboriginal Children Together (PACT)
Protecting Aboriginal Children Together (PACT) was developed by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, (FaCS) and (AbSec). It is based on Victoria’s ‘Lakidjeka’ program which has been running for 20 years using cultural advisers employed by Aboriginal community controlled organisation.
The aim of PACT is to ensure there is an Aboriginal perspective when it comes to making key decisions about the care and protection of Aboriginal children and young people. PACT does this by having Aboriginal cultural advisers work alongside FACS caseworkers. This gives caseworkers a deeper understanding of Aboriginal culture. It also helps open the way for Aboriginal families to take a role in decisions which affect them and their children.
The model has been piloted in two sites—Shellharbour and Moree—since 2011. This service is in addition to existing FACS models of internal and external consultation aimed at meeting the requirements for self-determination within the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998.
PACT is aimed toward Aboriginal children and young people who are the subject of a risk of significant harm (ROSH) report that is allocated to a participating FaCS site for further assessment or intervention. For the period of the pilot, all reported children and young people who meet the criteria are to be offered a PACT service:
- Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
- allocated to the FaCS child protection team for further action; and
- no other open case plan.
Eligibility is determined during the CSC intake process and the outcome recorded as part of local intake procedures.
PACT covers all key decision-making points in a child protection case. Once a case is allocated, PACT is to respond within the relevant timeframe (based on risk level). The first step is a pre-assessment consultation between the FaCS and PACT. If the family consents, PACT participates in the first home visit, safety assessment and risk assessment, and, if required, the case plan, risk re-assessment, care plan application, identification of carers, out-of-home care case plan and case closure.