Message from the CEO
2017 is a very special year for VACCA as we commemorate 40 years of service to the community.
It was in 1977 that the inaugural meeting to establish the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency as a Cooperative society took place and, once registered, VACCA became the first organisation of its kind in Australia.
At the time VACCA’s first social worker Graham Atkinson—who was one of a small team including Auntie Mollie Dyer said,
“The journey has begun for VACCA, and the road is a long and winding one which we must travel. But with the commitment and dedication we have fostered here at VACCA among the staff, we will surely reach our destiny.”
As we reflect on how much we have grown it is incredible that we now have more than 300 staff members and last year we were able to assist more than 3500 clients across the state. The VACCA of today is an incredible testament to our founders and the teams of staff who throughout the decades have continued our dedication and commitment to self-determination. Our concern then, as it is now, is to keep our children and families together and connected to community.
As we commemorate this milestone it is clear we are a community which achieves great things, we are strong and resilient. No matter what was done to us in the past, no matter how much we do suffer and grieve or how badly society treats us or how shocking the racism becomes, as a community we persevere and our connections to one another, to our culture and country will never be broken. That is how we are.
This year also marks the 20th year since the publication of the Bringing Them Home report, which is the report on the National Inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their families. It is also 50 years since the 1967 Referendum which by a majority of over 90 per cent gave the Commonwealth Government powers to count Aboriginal people in the census and make laws for Aboriginal people. These events marked the success of Aboriginal political activism in this land as it does today.
Significant milestones such as turning 40 provide an opportunity to reflect on the past, the people who have shared this journey the many memories we have. It also provides an opportunity to lean into the next chapter. At VACCA we are a proud organisation which looks with very positive thoughts to the future. We invite you to join us by sharing your stories and memories or by attending one of the VACCA celebrations being held throughout the year.
I would also like to pay special tribute to our first CEO, fore founder and friend Aunty Mollie Dyer and the many Aboriginal people who through their vision and dedication touched the lives of so many.
Muriel Bamblett, CEO VACCA
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