Nugel - Community Protecting Boorais

Home > Our Services > Children and Families > Out-of-Home Care Support > Nugel - Community Protecting Boorais

An Aboriginal-led alternative to child protection reports

VACCA is providing an Aboriginal-led alternative response for a small number of child protection reports about Aboriginal children in Northern Metropolitan Melbourne. Delivered by VACCA’s Nugel team, Community Protecting Boorais (CPB) will allow those Aboriginal families to experience an Aboriginal-led response to reports that is grounded in culture, self-determination, and human rights.  

All new reports will still be received by DFFH Child Protection intake, who are required to consult with an Aboriginal Child Specialist Advice and Support Service (ACSASS). If it’s decided there is a need for further follow up and the child lives in Northern Metro Melbourne, they will hand the work over to Nugel to undertake the work with the family.  

Nugel will gather information, work with the family and the child/children, engage support services and if the child/children is at serious risk, will make the application to the Children’s Court if required to protect the child/children. 

How will an Aboriginal-led response to child protection reports be different? 

We start by having a fresh set of eyes, with a different lens​. We will revisit past Child Protection processes, assessments, and decisions with a different lens, and we will work to engage families, without judgement.  

Enhanced commitment to children’s belonging (Family and Community) ​ 

We look to enhance a child’s connection to their family and community. We see connection to family as stability, a different approach to ‘contact’​. We work hard to keep siblings connected and are committed to finding family, developing genograms, exploring extended family, and community networks​.  

We will pursue family reunification, increasing parenting capacity or supporting family even when reunification is not possible. 

Commitment to Cultural Connection/Safety​ 

We draw on culture to promote healing and build resilience through organising ‘return to country’ trips, supporting attendance at cultural events and camps, and strengthening Cultural Support Plans.  

Different approach to Court​ 

We have our own in-house legal model that is based on self-determination, is culturally appropriate, and has lawyers who will prioritise the cultural rights of the children and young people and their connection to family and community. ​ 


One expression of our point of difference is language, which has long been understood as a catalysing factor for promoting change. We are committed to using language that is cultural, that families understand, is positive, and relational and humanising.  

To achieve these aims, we have developed alternative language to that commonly used by Child Protection. For example:   

  • Understanding story (investigation)
  • Stepping In and Strengthening Safety Together (protective intervention)
  • Stepping Out/Stepping Back (closure)

We hope that by building trust and partnering with families to engage with services earlier if needed, we can divert families away from the statutory system. Our model is designed so that the worker who engages with the family during Understanding Story, is the same worker who walks alongside the family until Stepping Out/Stepping Back. 


For Community

For Professionals


Street Address

340 Bell Street Preston VIC 3072

Mail Address

PO Box 494 Northcote Plaza

Office Hours

Monday to Friday: 9:00am - 5:00pm

Ph: (03) 9287 8800
Fax: (03) 9287 8999


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material. To listen to our Acknowledgement of Country, click here.