The history of AbSec
In 1999, the Department of Community Services (DoCS) funded the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) to bring all of the funded Aboriginal Out of Home Care agencies together on a monthly basis to form a network of agencies. This group of agencies formed the Aboriginal Child, Family & Community Care State Secretariat (also known as AbSec) committee.
In 2000, ACWA as the incorporated body and AbSec as the advisory body were successful tenderers, to provide support service to Aboriginal carers in New South Wales. This service is the Aboriginal Statewide Foster Carer Support Service (ASFCSS). It was agreed that once AbSec was incorporated the ASFCSS would transition from ACWA to AbSec.
The state Co-ordinator of ASFCSS was appointed in September 2000.
During 2000, DoCS made $1m available for service improvements to Aboriginal Out Of Home Care agencies allowing agencies to assess their needs and priorities. One of the priorities identified was training for staff. DoCS released funding through the Expression of interest process (EOI) and ACWA was the successful tender.
In 2001 AbSec applied to become incorporated. A proposal was submitted to DoCS for funding as the peak body for Aboriginal Out of Home Care in NSW.
In April 2002, AbSec became legally incorporated.
In September 2002 AbSec employed the Executive Officer (EO) Russell Freeburn. The EO and state Foster Carer co-ordinator were both located within ACWA while a suitable premise was found for AbSec.
In June 2003, staff moved into their new office located in Castlereagh Street in Sydney CBD.
AbSec continues to work proactively with ACWA and other peak Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal organisations (including CAPO-Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations), and enables other government and non-government services a means of communication with Aboriginal services for children and families on a state level.
Located now at Marrickville in Sydney’s inner-west, AbSec is today a strong Aboriginal peak body focused on providing support to shape the sector, as well as influence policy and directions of the broader child protection and out-of-home care system. AbSec is also now focused on the natural alignment of our Aboriginal agencies to provide other services vital for communities state-wide. AbSec is focused on engaging communities to inform the shaping of the Aboriginal sector for the future.