This article is a reflective piece that will cover the Family Participation Program (FPP) Induction Workshops and Aboriginal Family Led Decision Making (AFLDM) training, primarily because I started back at QATSCIPP during the first week of FPP Inductions and it was a busy process to be a part of. The FPP Induction training was held in October 2018 at Rockhampton, Ipswich, Townsville, Sunshine Coast, North Brisbane and Cairns. The AFLDM-SNAICC Training closely followed the FPP Inductions in November-December, and QATSICPP also provided feedback to the Department on the FPP Funding and Program Guidelines in November.
During these busy three months, a few thoughts immediately spring to mind. Firstly, that the capacity of our sector is strong and ever adaptable, and this is evident in our willingness to work with the Department in what can often be very tight timeframes. Due to the nature of the funding process, services across the state were at very different stages of the FPP Program in terms of recruitment and development. However, all member services engaged in very healthy discussion and critique at all the workshops I attended, exploring issues such as how will the services run on the ground, how will reporting occur, the role of the independent person/entity, concerns regarding what ‘happens’ now some families won’t have access to a Recognised Entity and similar practice queries.
Overall, what was clear during the FPP Inductions were the voices of member organisations articulating the opportunity to implement the FPP program in a way that will honour the Legislative reforms, in particular the elements of the Child Placement Principle. It also goes without saying that during such discussion, issues of how the Department will now work and adjust to a program and process that is underpinned by self-determination, choice and voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were raised. This is because in theory the reforms represent a real shift in power in how the Department and further the Queensland Government work with our people.
QATSICPP’s feedback on FPP Funding and Program Guidelines provided to the Department further highlighted issues such as what checks and balances will need to be in place to honour FPP Family Plans, how referrals will occur and where and when should an AFLDM occur for a family. No doubt in the coming months (and years) it will ultimately be our Aboriginal and Torres Strait community who will observe whether the intent and process of the FPP are being truly honoured.
The AFLDM training facilitated by SNAICC followed throughout November and December 2019, was also another very busy period for all involved. The training itself was over 5 successive days and again whilst members were in various stages of capacity and this was understood, the sector again ensured that all workshops were well attended. I was fortunate to attend the AFLDM Training that was held at Ipswich and which had FPP staff from ATSICHS, Kummara, Mt Isa, Goolburri and Mununjali attend. Areas such as the Child Placement Principle, Family Mapping, building cultural authority, enabling childrens’ participation and working safely in the context of trauma and family violence were some of the content that was discussed and critiqued over the course of the training. Day four was a particular highlight, as this was when the services had to lead a practical demonstration/role play of working with a family using the AFLDM process. What was evident from observing the role plays were the range of skills that our sector has and are able to clearly articulate. Participants were able to talk through and demonstrate areas such as ‘how to’ clearly outline worries and facilitating a process; whereby families have voice and are and comfortable to ‘talk up’, how to engage families including those that may be deemed ‘difficult’ and how to manage communication with the Department (including when there is regular turn-over of Dept staff – which is often a very real issue we face). Other areas that make the AFLDM work on the day such as organising catering and transport for families was discussed.
Article provide by: Alf Davis, QATSICPP Senior Policy Officer