In an Australian first, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has commenced transferring Guardianship of Aboriginal Children on Children’s Court Protection Orders to the CEO of an Aboriginal Controlled Organisation—a program we have been working on for more than a decade.
In 2014 VACCA commenced a pilot program for 13 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children—Sophie Dryden was 15 years old at the time, she is now 19 and has shared her incredibly moving and inspiring story reflecting on what it was like growing up in care and her experience of being under Aboriginal Guardianship.
At VACCA we have made a commitment that Aboriginal children and families, like Sophie, will be involved in decision making. Their voice will be respected and heard. They will grow up resilient with self-belief and identity. And they will be connected to community and culture.
DHHS now officially calls the program Aboriginal Children in Aboriginal Care.
In Woiwurrung, the language of the Wurundjeri people we call the VACCA Aboriginal Children in Aboriginal Care program Nugel meaning Belong.
We would like to acknowledge the long history and work of many people in making this a reality and thank all those who have supported our vision.